While on the picket lines, actors shared with TheWrap that they were excited about the Writers Guild of America’s deal and are hoping the studios give SAG-AFTRA members what they “need and deserve” in a contract.
“I was thrilled. So thrilled. The writers have been out on the line for almost triple what [actors have] been doing,” “The Walking Dead” actress Emma Bell told TheWrap on Tuesday. “The writers deserve everything that they feel they deserve. We would never have anything in this industry if we didn’t have [the writers], and it really made me hopeful for our deal.”
On Sunday, and after 146 days of striking, the Writers Guild reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP, sparking hope for possible talks with SAG-AFTRA. As TheWrap has reported, conversations are close but not imminent, and getting back to the table could take at least two weeks. And even after they agree to sit down again, the new round of negotiating could take longer than the five days the writers and AMPTP took.
The SAG-AFTRA strike will hit the 75-day mark Wednesday.
Nevertheless, actors and writers weighed in with their thoughts.
“I hope that the CEOs show up just like they did for the WGA so we can get this done,” Frances Fischer, actress and SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee member told TheWrap. “We have a huge package, much bigger than any other union because we have so many members and so many different categories of workers. I don’t prioritize because it all works together.”
As the WGA continues to sort out its contract with the AMPTP, the Actors Guild will have time to look over the writers’ deal, which in turn could help them steer their upcoming negotiation meeting with the studios, particularly on issues that overlap with other unions, including the use of artificial intelligence and minimum wage increases.
“Eleven percent, baby that’s where we’re at. Take a look at the economics for the last five to seven years. That’s where we’re at,” Kevin E. West, actor and SAG-AFTRA negotiating member, said referring to pay boosts for actors. “There’s certainly a mechanical difficulty of A.I. and an economical reality of financial share, but there’s also a day-to-day part of this union that goes all the way down to either something that has a lesser economic impasse on the AMPTP but still is equally as important to us. They are all important. “
West continued: “Quite frankly, it would just be easy if they’d just go ahead and sign the deal we left on the table. That’d make it really simple.”
While most were delighted at the progress made from the WGA deal, writer and producer Travis Adam Wright said he remains a bit skeptical.
“You know I wish I was more excited that I was. It’s kinda like when you’re in love with someone and they’ve broken your heart a couple of times, so you’re like, ‘Do they really love me? I’m not sure,” Wright said. “I was very lukewarm about it. We still haven’t read the details. Until we read the details of the deal, we don’t know what’s what.”
Wright continued, saying that he hopes that future dealmaking for the unions becomes more clear, and that unions push for more.
“I would love for us all to get back to work,” he said. “And three years from now, I’d love if we were striking for like 10% of profits or something real instead of 3%. You know, wow, we went from 3.6 to 3.8 of adjusted gross. As long as its adjusted gross, it might as well be fairy farts or something. Without transparency also in accounting, how do you know what they’re paying you? So I’m happy that we can all get back to work.”
He went on to say that without the united front of all the unions none of the progress made would have happened.
“We wouldn’t have gotten paid without SAG-AFTRA, period,” Wright added. “This is a collaborative medium. Without them we’re nothing. This industry can’t function without them, obviously. So they need to get paid and until they get paid, I’ll come out here every day.”
For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.