The next strike? We’re just getting over the last one, you’re saying. But this is Hollywood, and a successful anything demands a sequel, so SAG – the Screen Actors Guild – is waiting in the wings to once again disrupt Hollywood. Here’s the crazy thing: they don’t even have to go on strike to shut Hollywood down as early as April.
The SAG contract is up at the end of June, but until a deal is done, the studios are going to assume a strike is happening, and they won’t start any productions that go beyond the end of the SAG contract. In fact, bond companies won’t offer completion bonds to films that are expected to be shooting past June 15th. That means the latest anyone is going to start a new movie is at some point in April. While the WGA strike did more damage to the TV folks than the movie folks, this one will be very painful for the movies.
Meanwhile, the SAG leadership is apparently quite militant – they pretty much spit on the deal the DGA cut with the studios, and they’re no fans of the writer’s deal. The reality is that SAG just isn’t going to get much of a different deal than those two groups, so unless they lower their sights, they’ll be hitting the picket lines July 1. The writers were smart to strike in the winter, by the way – those’ll be some brutally hot pickets.
Some SAG members are concerned about the possibility of a strike, or a de facto strike, shutting everything down (the writer’s strike slowed Hollywood before TV shows started shutting down while a SAG strike would completely close Hollywood from day one. It’s likely that even talk show and reality TV hosts would walk); George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep took out ads in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter asking SAG to start negotiations ASAP. Clooney has gone on the record as being concerned about strike fatigue, and I have to agree that a striking SAG will likely not be looked at with as much solidarity as the striking WGA was.