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

18 July 2023, 13:04 | Updated: 18 July 2023, 13:07

Tom Cruise reportedly joined in negotiations last month.
Tom Cruise reportedly joined in negotiations last month. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Tom Cruise made an unexpected appearance at an actors’ strike negotiation last month as he surprised guild members with his calls for regulation.

The 61-year-old reportedly made an appearance at a Zoom negotiation session between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) in June, much to the surprise of the guild.

Previously the guild has called on actors and performers who work in Hollywood to join negotiation sessions and offer insight from their first-hand experience in the industry, and the Top Gun actor’s appearance is thought to make him one of the biggest A-list stars to join to date.

He rattended the negotiation to wade in on the use of artificial intelligence in Hollywood, as he wanted to get the AMPTP, which represents film and TV networks, studios and streaming services, to think about regulation for artificial intelligence in the industry, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It comes after a number of Hollywood names, such as Kevin Bacon and Hilary Duff, joined the pick line on Monday in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Cruise, who performs his own stunts, also reportedly wanted to garner support for the guild’s position on stunt performers.

The Hollywood strikes began last Thursday, marking the first time in 63 years that the the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA are on strike at the same time.

It saw stars such as Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy walk out on the hotly anticipated Christopher Nolan Oppenheimer film premiere last week.

Kevin Bacon joined the picket line on Monday.
Kevin Bacon joined the picket line on Monday. Picture: Alamy

After the strikes were announced Cruise halted filming for his most recent Mission: Impossible film – Dead Reckoning Part Two.

But controversially, at the negotiation he also asked the AMPTP to allow actors continue promoting films after strikes, as he was concerned for the “fragile state of movie theatres” after the pandemic.

Read more: Hollywood actors to strike alongside writers for first time in 60 years - forcing UK Oppenheimer premiere to reschedule

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

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

One person who was in the meeting Cruise joined said his request was “uncomfortable” however, as the guild has explicit rules on “conventions, interviews, tours or promotion via social media of any struck work or struck companies.”

It comes after SAG-AFTRA's three-year contract with the AMPTP expired on July 1.

Both groups agreed to extend their contract until July 12, with the hope of reaching a deal in this time, but they failed to reach an agreement.

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May 2, and the AMPTP has not rejoined discussions with them since.

Hilary Duff also made an appearance at the strikes.
Hilary Duff also made an appearance at the strikes. Picture: Alamy

Cruise’s film was lined up for release in June 2024, but this is likely to be delayed now strikes have gone ahead.

Barry Diller, the former CEO of Paramount and co-founder of Fox network, suggested on Sunday that the industry’s top actors – such as Cruise – should take a 25% pay cut.

“Everybody's probably overpaid at the top end. The one idea I had is to say, as a good faith measure, both the executives and the most-paid actors should take a 25 percent pay cut to try and narrow the difference between those who get highly paid and those that don’t,” he said.

He also said the entertainment industry is at risk of an “absolute collapse” if the strike isn’t wrapped up soon.

“What will happen is, if in fact, it doesn't get settled until Christmas or so, then next year, there's not going to be many programs for anybody to watch,” he said speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation.

“So, you're gonna see subscriptions get pulled, which is going to reduce the revenue of all these movie companies, television companies, the result of which is that there will be no programs. And at just the time, strike is settled that you want to get back up, there won't be enough money.”

Under strike rules, SAG-AFTRA members cannot film any films or TV shows, or participate in press-related events or premieres.

Actors are demanding better pay and working conditions from streaming services, as well as reassurances that AI will not be used to replace actors in future.