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

13 July 2023, 12:38 | Updated: 13 July 2023, 13:25

The London Oppenheimer premiere has been pulled back by an hour as it could clash with the beginning of the strike
The London Oppenheimer premiere has been pulled back by an hour as it could clash with the beginning of the strike. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Hollywood actors and writers are set to strike simultaneously for the first time since the 1960s after a deadline to reach a deal with studios passed.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra), which represents 160,000 actors, announced on Thursday that it had voted in favour of strike action.

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.

A number of high-profile actors are set to join the actors strike, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Mark Ruffalo.

As well as preventing actors from working on set, the actors strike is set to impact publicity efforts for upcoming movies, including the Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated new film Oppenheimer.

The premiere for Nolan's new film was set to take place in Leicester Square, central London, at 5.45pm on Thursday, though has been brought forward by an hour to avoid clashing with the start of the strike.

The UK Oppenheimer premiere has been brought forward by an hour
The UK Oppenheimer premiere has been brought forward by an hour. Picture: Getty
Writers have been on strike for several months
Writers have been on strike for several months. Picture: Getty

A spokesperson for Saf-Afrta said: "After more than four weeks of bargaining, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) – the entity that represents major studios and streamers, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery – remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on the key issues that are essential to Sag-Aftra members."

They continued: "The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal.

"We have no choice but to move forward in unity, and on behalf of our membership, with a strike recommendation to our national board. The board will discuss the issue this morning and will make its decision."

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A number of other high-profile Hollywood events are expected to be impacted by the strike, including the Emmy awards and San Diego Comic-Con.

The move to approve a strike comes as no surprise after a number of famous actors publicly signalled their intention to join any strike action should the studios and unions fail to reach acceptable settlement.

Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep have been vocal in supporting an actors strike
Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep have been vocal in supporting an actors strike. Picture: Alamy

Ruffalo, Streep and Lawrence in particular have been vocal in urging their union leaders not to accept a mediocre settlement.

Some of the central issues dominating negotiations have included the unregulated use of artificial intelligence and its impact on the writing community.

There are also concerns about the number of hours workers say they have been asked to engage in relative to pay.

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