'You know how much they paid me? Zero.' Actors are sharing exactly what led to them striking.

Earlier this month, Hollywood actors began strike action that has effectively shuttered all US-based production of film and scripted television, as well as many overseas shoots.

Actors have joined film and television writers who have been on picket lines since May, which deepens the impact on just about any TV or film currently in production.

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).

And for weeks now, we've seen actors on the picket lines sharing their stories and calling for change - including support from Hollywood giants like Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and Brendan Fraser.

Just this week at a rally, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston stepped up to the mic, calling for better conditions. 

Watch part of Bryan Cranston's speech here. Post continues below.

Video via ET.

"We ask you to hear us, and beyond that to listen to us, when we tell you we will not be having our jobs taken away and given to robots," he said. 

Harrison Ford's stunt double is also striking, a large group of stunt performers calling for better pay and working conditions. Mike Massa strode across the stage in flames while holding a "SAG-AFTRA on Strike" sign, as part of a stunt.

Tina Fey has also been very active at the strikes, the Saturday Night Live alum, comedian and actor having been a part of the previous Writer's Guild of America strike between 2007 and 2008.

As actors take to their picket lines, several have also shared details explaining exactly why they're so desperately seeking change.

Here are four of their stories.

Luke Cook, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Australian Luke Cook has held recurring roles in shows like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Dynasty and Dollface, and he has used his TikTok account to share the not-so-glam realities of his job.

Or, well, one of them: he also teaches fitness classes.

In a video, he pushed back against naysayers who are objecting to the strike as they see it as just millionaires wanting more money.

"I am not a millionaire. I drive a 2010 Mazda S3. My previous car was a 2003 Ford Torris. 95 per cent of the actors in SAG are not millionaires," he explained.

"They usually make their living through some side hustle. I'm one of those actors. The actors you're thinking of are series regulars or A-listers in big movies. The actors who surround them — guest stars, co-stars etc — actors like me, we're paid chips."


Image: Hulu.

Cook used his four-episode appearance in comedy Dollface as an example.

"They put me on a billboard at Sunset [Boulevard] and you know how much they paid me? Zero. The amount they paid me for the show is not much better. I live in Los Angeles and I have two kids. The amount they paid me per episode, which is two weeks of work, is $7500. 


"Then it's taxed, a manager takes 10 per cent, an agent takes 10 per cent, lawyer takes 5 per cent. Now, I'm one rung below the series regular, who's making sometimes even $100,000 per episode. They're wealthy and they deserve it too. They're usually very talented people."

@thelukecook Replying to @Drew #sagstrike #sagaftra ♬ original sound - Luke Cook

Luke says the strikes is about actors like him, rather than the A-listers we all typically think of.

"This strike is not about millionaires. As I said, 95 per cent of SAG actors cannot survive by just doing this job. Your favourite actor may not even get affected by this deal, whatever it is. They'll continue to get paid thousands of dollars. As a battler and someone who has a side job, I'm just asking to be paid more for making your favourite TV shows. 

"If you see me on TV, I shouldn't have to have two side jobs just to survive."

Kimiko Glenn, Orange is the New Black.

Image: Netflix.


Kimiko Glenn starred in 44 episodes of Netflix's Orange is the New Black from 2014-2019.

In a viral TikTok video, she joked about her excitement when her residual cheque arrives.

"I'm about to be so rich," she says, before panning down to the bottom of the page to reveal she’s only been paid $27.30.

In a follow-up, she said the cast were not well-compensated at all, whether upfront or with residuals.

"Whether or not we got paid up front, the sh*t lives on - my tits live on in perpetuity, I deserve to get paid for as many f**king streams as that sh*t gets.

"Second of all, we did not get paid very well, ever. And when I say 'did not get paid very well', you would die. People were bartenders still. People had their second jobs still.


"They were f**king famous as sh*t, internationally famous, couldn't go outside, but had to keep their second jobs because they couldn't afford to not. They couldn't afford cabs to set."

@itskimiko @The New Yorker released an article the other day describing many of our cast’s experience on #orangeisthenewblack and the details will astound you. go to my IG for the link 💕💕 #sagaftra #sagaftrastrike #sagstrike #sagaftrastrong ♬ original sound - kimiko

In a New Yorker article from July 12, 10 OITNB stars share similar stories.

Diane Guerrero, who played inmate Maritza Ramos, worked at a bar while working on the show, where patrons would recognise her.

"How could you tell this complete stranger how much you're getting paid for being on a television show?" Because everyone's reaction would be, like, 'Oh, my God, I love you on that show! But also, what are you doing here?' It was this incredulity that was teetering on offensive."

Emma Myles, who played the recurring character Leanne Taylor, worked a second job acting in live simulations for aspiring financial planners.

When Glenn shared her issues with the lack of residuals on Instagram, co-stars Matt McGorry recalled keeping his 'day job' the entire time he was on the show, and Beth Dover, who played Linda, said she lost money while starring in seasons three and four because she had to cover her own transport costs.

Sean Gunn, Gilmore Girls.


Speaking at the picket line, Gilmore Girls actor Sean Gunn spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about receiving no money despite Gilmore Girls' popularity since being licenced to Netflix.

"I also particularly wanted to come out and protest Netflix," Gunn said. 

"I was on a television show called Gilmore Girls for a long time that has brought in massive profits for Netflix. It has been one of their most popular shows for a very long time, over a decade. It gets streamed over and over and over again, and I see almost none of the revenue that comes into that."


His interview was taken down because he did not note at the time that his residuals were paid by Gilmore Girls' production company, Warner Bros, and not Netflix, so Gunn uploaded a clarifying video to Twitter.

"The important thing is that the whole point of my interview is that Netflix doesn't pay residuals to the actors, so there's no sharing in the success of a show with Netflix... if a show's a success we should participate in that."

Constance Marie, Switched At Birth.

@goconstance #greenscreen Sadly, the negotiations with #AMPTP have not gone well. They are unwilling to adjust our antiquated contracts to the new business model of streaming. Here is an example of how my show ##SwitchedAtBirthcontinues to make money for the studio, but for me? Not so much! If they’re making money off my likeness, my work, so should! WE ARE NOW ON STRIKE! ##FairIsFair##ActorsStrike##ActorLife##Actor@@SAG-AFTRA##payafairwage ♬ original sound - Constance Marie

Constance Marie, who is known for roles in George Lopez, Selena and Switched at Birth, shared a video of her residual cheque for the latter series, which aired between 2011 and 2017.

"Here's a perfect example of how it's not working right now and why we have to go on strike," she said.

She posted a screenshot of her residuals from Switched at Birth, with totals being $0.03 and $0.74 cents.

"They're still making money but I cannot make a living and pay my rent and pay my insurance off of these residuals, right?"

Read more:

This article was originally published on July 16, and has since been updated with new information.

With AAP.

Feature image: TikTok/Getty.

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