Hollywood actors are officially going on strike. Here's what it means for TV and film.

Two months after movie and TV writers went on strike, Hollywood actors will be joining them on the picket lines.

Actors will go on strike after their union and the major studios failed to reach an agreement on a new film and TV contract, further deepening the disruption of scores of shows and movies.

At a press conference on Thursday, the actors' union announced the strike will begin at midnight after its national board voted unanimously to authorise the walkout.

A deadline to reach a new contract expired on Wednesday.

Multiple media outlets reported last month that over 300 actors had signed a letter addressed to SAG-AFTRA's leadership and negotiating committee, urging their representatives not to settle for a weak deal, saying "SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not."

The letter was signed by Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Neil Patrick Harris, Rami Malek, Quinta Brunson, Ben Stiller, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Neve Campbell, Brendan Fraser, and others according to Rolling Stone. 

Hollywood has not faced simultaneous strikes since 1960 when members of the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild both walked off the job in a fight over residuals from films sold to TV networks.

As actors are set to walk out, here's what you need to know about the strike.

Why are actors going on strike?

Both SAG-AFTRA – Hollywood's largest union, representing 160,000 film and television actors – and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are demanding increases in base pay and residuals in the streaming TV era plus assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

Fran Drescher, former star of The Nanny and the president of SAG-AFTRA, called the studios' responses to actors' concerns "insulting and disrespectful".


"I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us," Drescher said at the press conference at the SAG-AFTRA headquarters.

"I cannot believe it, quite frankly, how far apart we are on so many things, how they plead poverty, that they're losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions to their CEOs. It is disgusting."

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association that negotiates on behalf of Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co and other production companies, said it was "deeply disappointed that SAG-AFTRA has decided to walk away from negotiations".


The group said it had offered "historic pay and residual increases" and "a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors' digital likenesses".

"Rather than continuing to negotiate, SAG-AFTRA has put us on a course that will deepen the financial hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods," the AMPTP said.

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What will the strike mean for movies and TV shows?

The writers' strike, which began in May, has already sent late-night television talk shows into endless re-runs, disrupted most production for the northern hemisphere's autumn TV season and halted work on big-budget movies.

Now, Hollywood studios are facing their first dual work stoppage in 63 years, which will force them to halt many productions across the United States.

The strike will also hamper many overseas shoots involving SAG-AFTRA talent, such as Paramount Pictures' sequel to Gladiator, which has been shooting in Morocco and Malta.

However, some production work not involving SAG-AFTRA performers can proceed, such as location scouting or certain kinds of post-production editing.

Actors also won't be doing any promotional work for film and television productions while on strike, putting more pressure on media companies to find a resolution. 

On Thursday night (US time) the cast of the new film Oppenheimer walked out of their own movie premier in London. 

Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and other actors left before the film was due to begin, in solidarity with the strike. 


"You've seen them here earlier on the red carpet," Director Christopher Nolan told the audience in the cinema.

"Unfortunately, they’re off to write their picket signs for what we believe to be an imminent strike by Sag, joining one of my guilds, the Writers Guild, in the struggle for fair wages for working members of the unions, and we support them."

Read more: 

11,500 TV writers are striking right now. This is what it means for your favourite shows.

- With AAP. 

Feature Image: Frazer Harrison/David McNew/Getty/Mamamia. 

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