Sag-Aftra strike: What events could be affected in the UK and further afield

The Hollywood actors strike could disrupt film and TV productions, red carpet premieres and festivals across the entertainment industry if an agreement over pay and the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is not made.

The strike comes after the union Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra), which represents around 160,000 members of the industry and Hollywood studios, failed to reach an agreement on a fairer split of profits and increased safeguarding around AI rights.

Here the PA news agency looks at what events could be affected in the UK, Ireland and beyond.

– Film premieres

Hollywood actors strike
Stars of upcoming historical epic Oppenheimer, including Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh, staging a walkout from the film’s London premiere (PA)

On Thursday evening, Robert Downey Jr, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh staged a walkout from the London premiere of historical epic Oppenheimer due to the strike.

Peaky Blinders star Murphy, who portrays US theoretical physicist J Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming film, will also not attend the Irish premiere of the film on Saturday due to the strikes.

Stars of the upcoming Barbie movie are also expected to miss the film’s German premiere on Saturday in Berlin due to strike action, according to the German press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

The highly anticipated movie, which sees Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling play Barbie and Ken, had its European premiere in London on Wednesday evening.

Barbie European premiere and photocall – London
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie arrive for the European premiere of Barbie at Cineworld Leicester Square in London (PA)

– Film festivals

A Q&A for Matthew Modine’s new existential drama The Martini Shot due to be held on Thursday evening at the Galway Film Fleadh had to be pulled as well as the US actor stood in solidarity with the strike action.

Modine posted a photo of himself on Instagram folding a sign which said “Galway Film Fleadh” and “solidarity”.

Alongside the post, the Stranger Things star wrote: “Tonight was meant to be our world premiere, a celebration thwarted by unforeseen circumstances. But sometimes, sacrifices must be made on the path to victory.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the immigrants who shaped the film industry we hold dear. Their contributions have left an indelible mark on generations around the world.

“While it’s humbling to consider the legacy of great films that have impacted our lives, it’s essential to acknowledge the stark contrast between the rewards reaped by industry magnates and the arduous conditions faced by artists and laborers.

“To restore balance and equity, those actually involved in filmmaking had to establish labor unions.”

Modine is due to attend an event on Saturday at the Irish film festival which could be halted, with the festival telling the PA news agency it is keeping a “close eye” on any other possible disruptions.

The Locarno Film Festival, which is due to kick off on August 2 in Switzerland, said it is contacting guests to try to reduce the impact the strikes could have on their event but organisers “understand and support” the actors as they “vindicate their union rights”.

A statement shared with PA said: “In light of the announced Sag-Aftra strike, we are aware of the potential impact this situation may have on the artists involved and their professional commitments.

“We are monitoring the situation and we are getting in contact with our guests to have a better understanding of their participation in this year edition of the festival, and hence try to mitigate the consequences this might have on the organisation of our event.

It added: “We do understand and support the need to vindicate their union rights and raise awareness on their current working situation, and we consider this strike as an unmistakable signal that draws attention to the issues that plague the contemporary film world.”

Annual film festivals in Venice and Toronto may also be impacted in August and September if a settlement is not reached.

The La Biennale di Venezia, which organises the Venetian event, said it hopes “parties will reach an agreement quickly” in the interest of the entire industry.

Meanwhile, organisers of the Toronto festival said: “The impact of this strike on the industry and events like ours cannot be denied. We urge our partners and colleagues to resume an open dialogue.

“We will continue planning for this year’s festival with the hope of a swift resolution in the coming weeks.”

– Awards shows

Succession star Brian Cox is among the nominees for this year’s Emmy Awards (PA)

The 75th annual Emmy awards are scheduled to take place on September 18 with top stars including Brian Cox, Pedro Pascal, Daniel Radcliffe, Sarah Snook and Elizabeth Moss among the nominees.

If negotiations are not reached by this stage, the typically star-studded event could be left quite deserted.

Last month, the Tony Awards took place as an unscripted show due to more than 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) continuing with their strike efforts, which started on May 2, primarily over royalties from streaming media.