Brian Cox, Andy Serkis and Hayley Atwell among actors who join protest in solidarity with Hollywood strikes

21 July 2023, 18:21 | Updated: 21 July 2023, 20:48

A number of British actors joined the London rally.
A number of British actors joined the London rally. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Actors including Rob Delaney, Haley Atwell and Simon Pegg gathered in Leicester Square on Friday afternoon as they protested in solidarity with actors striking in the US.

A number of actors flocked to central London on Friday as they joined protests with the British union Equity.

Brian Cox, Simon Pegg, Imelda Staunton and Hayley Atwell were among the actors to join the strikes.

It comes a week after the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) launched a major strike against Hollywood.

The strike’s launch disrupted the hotly anticipated Oppenheimer film premiere held in Leicester Square on Thursday last week, as stars such as Emily Blunt and Matt Damon walked out on the event.

Placards held at the protests in Leicester Square on Friday called on the industry to “support artists not algorithms” and “Leave AI to Sci-fi”.

Andy Serkis addressed the rally on Friday.
Andy Serkis addressed the rally on Friday. Picture: Alamy

Speaking at the event, Lord of the Rings actor and Equity member Andy Serkis said: “I’m probably one of the most scanned actors on the planet for various different films, and projects.

“I would say I have probably been scanned more than anyone ever.

“I know that my image can be used, or my library of movements, can be used or my voice.

“(It) is wrong that that is easily accessed and used without remunerating the artist.”

Read more: Tom Cruise joins negotiations between striking Hollywood actors and stars join picket lines

Read more: Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon and Ted Lasso's Jason Sudeikis among stars to join Hollywood picket line

Read more: Film stars walk out on Oppenheimer premiere as largest Hollywood shutdown in 40 years launched

Rob Delaney gave a speech.
Rob Delaney gave a speech. Picture: Alamy

Rob Delaney and Succession star Brian Cox also spoke at the Equity protest.

Cox said: “The artificial intelligence thing is a major issue and it has to be nipped before it starts to grow even more.

“It has gotten to a standard now where people are getting avatars of themselves made in order to protect themselves in every aspect.”

Delaney also told the rally: “We are going to win because we always win these strikes … We’re going to get our tiny little slice of the pie, the pie that we made up the friggin’ recipe for.”

Succession star Brian Cox also attended the protest.
Succession star Brian Cox also attended the protest. Picture: Alamy

Equity union represents some 47,000 members and said it will “stand in unwavering solidarity” with SAG-AFTRA. It also slammed the UK’ anti-strike legislation.

The union is planning to enter negotiations next year and it’s expected similar issues are to arise in the UK about the acting industry.

Members of the Writers Guild of America have already been on strike for several months, affecting the production of TV programmes and movies across the industry.

It marks the first time in 63 years that the the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA will be on strike at the same time.

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