The Hollywood actors’ union said Tuesday it had exempted 39 independent film and TV projects from the strike, including two films from A24, the secretive New York company that has become a force at the Academy Awards.
SAG-AFTRA, as the union is called, said the productions could be taped during the strike because it verified they had no affiliation with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of the largest studios. Talks between the union and the alliance over a new three-year contract broke down on Thursday, and tens of thousands of actors went on strike on Friday.
More waivers may be approved as the union evaluates applications. To be eligible, productions must agree to temporarily follow the terms of the latest proposal put forward by SAG-AFTRA during the negotiations. The productions will be subject to the final deal between the union and the studio alliance.
The 39 projects include ‘Mother Mary’, a melodrama co-financed by A24 and starring Anne Hathaway as a fictional musician and Michaela Coel (of HBO’s ‘I May Destroy You’ fame) as a fashion designer. The second A24 project, “Death of a Unicorn”, stars Paul Rudd and Jenna Ortega, of “Wednesday” fame on Netflix. It tells the story of a man and his teenage daughter who, while driving in a remote location, crash into a unicorn.
A24 was behind ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, which won the Oscar for best picture in March.
An exemption also went to “The Rivals of Amziah King,” a crime thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and produced by Teddy Schwarzman, whose father is Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman. ‘The Chosen’, a popular religious TV series, may also continue in a new season, as will ‘Bride Hard’, an action comedy starring Rebel Wilson, involving a mercenary group and a lavish wedding.
Hollywood actors hadn’t been on strike since 1980. They joined 11,500 screenwriters, who walked out in May. Both unions have said they’re fed up with exorbitant pay for entertainment moguls and are concerned they won’t get their fair share of the spoils of a streaming-dominated future. Since 1960, actors and writers hadn’t gone on strike at the same time.
No talks with either union are planned.