The mood on Monday was upbeat for actors, who felt that the end of their strike is near as talks between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP resumed.
Several actors outside of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles told TheWrap that they believed a deal could come as early as that same day, or possibly by Friday, now that the WGA and the studios finally came to terms on ending the months-long writers’ strike.
“We feel like we see the end in sight,” said Anita Kalathara, whose credits include “Lady Bird” and “India Sweets and Spices.”
She and another actress were walking the line with a friend from the WGA. At least half of the picketers outside Paramount held picket signs that read “WGAW Stands With SAG-AFTRA.” A former WGA strike captain said that the writers’ guild had had the new signs made to show their continued solidarity for the actors.
“Walking Dead” actor Michael Traynor said he was hoping for a resolution “soon.”
“I think the groundbreaking deal that the Writers Guild was able to strike with the AMPTP gives us a path forward,” said Traynor, who was there with “Breakout Kings” star Brooke Nevin.
“There seems to be certainly a mood of, if not conciliation, a realization that we have to get back to doing what this town does, which is create stories,” he added.
“We’re optimistic. It took 140 odd days to get the writers [and AMPTP talking] and then only three to strike a deal. So we’re thinking the pattern is going to be for this go-round would be like, Wednesday or Friday, maybe?” said actor and model James Hutson.
Early in the strike, Hutson told TheWrap that he had lost his apartment because of the production shutdown. He said he’s still living with friends, but was in good spirits thanks to soap opera work, which was not affected by the SAG strike.
The hot-button issues that continue to be foremost for SAG members are AI protections — especially after that deep-fake Tom Hanks dentistry ad — and securing residuals from streaming.
AI protection was top of mind for Nevin, who said, “The idea of our likeness being used in perpetuity without proper compensation is definitely a huge concern.”
Kevin Daniels, who plays firefighter Tiny on the upcoming “Frasier” reboot at Paramount+, said he’s been a union member since 1998. “I remember what our original residuals looked like. I’ve been very fortunate in my career. I work all the time. It’s great, but [with streaming] I have to work six more jobs to make the money I used to make.
“There’s no difference between watching something on CBS and watching something on Paramount+,” Daniels added.
Said Traynor, “[Hollywood] has always been built on a reluctant sharing of profits. They’ve been cutting us out, so it’s time to return to the reluctant sharing of profits.”
Marz Richards, a voiceover artist who’s voiced characters in the hit game “World of Warcraft,” said that the payout model for video games was much higher than streaming shows. “When you’re dealing with a billion dollar product, you should be seeing residuals,” he said.
Last week, SAG authorized video game actors to strike. For more than a year, SAG-AFTRA has been negotiating for a new contract for voice actors, stunt actors, motion capture, and other performers who work on video games.
For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.