Hollywood's TV and film actors have been striking for 100 days now, and there seems to be no end in sight.
The milestone was reached on Saturday (21 October), and actors are in unscripted territory, as their union has never been on a strike this long.
Last month's deal between screenwriters and the studios and streaming giants led to hope that actors would reach an agreement too. Those hopes were dashed earlier this month when negotiations broke down, leaving awards season in flux.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a Zoom meeting was held on October 17 between union leaders and a group of leading Hollywood stars, including George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Robert De Niro. The actors suggested that higher earners could pay more in union fees, which they estimated would generate $50 million (£41 million) a year.
In response to the suggestion, SAG-AFTRA said, “This generous concept is worthy of consideration, but it is in no way related to and would have no bearing on this present contract or even as a subject of collective bargaining.”
On Saturday, the actors' union and studios said in a joint statement that negotiations will resume on Tuesday (24 October), with several studio executives expected to join.
“As we mark the 100th day of our strike, we are pleased to confirm the company executives have asked us to return to the table. Official Negotiations will resume,” read a social media post from SAG-AFTRA to its members.
Variety has reported that representatives of the studios in negotiations up to this point have included NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and Disney’s Bob Iger.
More delays for award shows?
The return of writers has the Hollywood production machine churning again, with rooms full of scribes penning new seasons of shows that had been suspended and film writers finishing scripts. But the finished product will await the end of actors strike, and production will remain suspended on many TV shows and dozens of films, including Wicked, Deadpool 3 and Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part 2.
The Emmys, whose nominations were announced the day before the actors strike was called, opted to wait for the stars this time and move their ceremony from September to January - though that date could be threatened, too.
The Oscars are a long way off in March, but the campaigns to win them are usually well underway by now. With some exceptions - non-studio productions approved by the union - performers are prohibited from promoting their films at press junkets or on red carpets.
Director Martin Scorsese has been giving interviews about his new Oscar contender Killers of the Flower Moon. Stars and SAG-AFTRA members Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert DeNiro haven't.
No costumes please – we're striking
For now, the picket signs will stay out, and actors will remain on sidewalks instead of sets.
As if that wasn’t a blow enough, the striking actors have been warned against dressing up as characters from film or television shows this Halloween.
Indeed, the SAG-AFTRA union has advised its members that any such costumes would promote content made by the studios that the actors are in dispute with.
“Choose costumes inspired by generalised characters and figures (ghost, zombie, spider, etc),” read a statement from SAG-AFTRA to its 160,000 members. It added that they should not “post photos of costumes inspired by struck content on social media.”
“Let’s use our collective power to send a loud and clear message to our struck employers that we will not promote their content without a fair contract!”
Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds weighed in on the costume rules with a post on X, writing that he looks forward to “screaming ‘scab’ at my 8 year old all night.”
“She’s not in the union but she needs to learn,” he added.