Across both sides of the Atlantic, writers, actors and other film professionals downed tools as the long-dreaded strike began.
Kenneth Branagh, Rami Malek, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy had all been in attendance at the Oppenheimer UK Premiere at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square.
Despite pre-emptively starting over an hour earlier, director Christopher Nolan announced to the crowds that the stars were leaving, something never seen before.
After weeks of negotiations and bitters accusations, the crisis has come to a head and Hollywood has ground to a halt.
This is only the beginning of potentially months of disruptions to an already struggling industry, which will hit everyone employed across thr industry beyond actors and writers..
Nolan told a stunned crowd this evening: “You’ve seen them here earlier on the red carpet.
The Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writers Guild of America have combined in industrial action, meaning 160,000 members are now on strike.
The actors’ unions are demanding guarantees from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that AI will not be used to replace live actors, while also protesting poor rates of pay for jobbing actors while CEO’s bank huge wages and bonuses.
SAG-AFTRA President (and The Nanny star) Fran Drescher said: “I can’t believe how far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty while giving hundreds of millions of dollars to CEOs. It’s disgusting. Shame on them.”
The writers’ guild has been in a separate dispute since May 2, lobbying predominantly for better compensation and working conditions from the proliferating streaming platforms like Amazon Prime.
It is the first actors’ strike since 1980 and the first combined strike since 1960. At that time Ronald Reagan was the SAG President.
With the cinema industry still reeling from the global pandemic and the growing encroachment of streaming platforms, the ramifications on the rest of the year are seismic as all productions and pre-productions are instantly halted and all promotional work of finished productions are also affected.