SAG-AFTRA star George Clooney met with his union leaders Tuesday to try to understand how contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 11.
Clooney spoke with the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland as well as president Fran Drescher via Zoom about why the studios suspended discussions the week before. Deadline, which was first to report the news, also reported that fellow union members Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone, Ben Affleck and Tyler Perry were present at the meeting.
“We meet with members of all profiles every day and will not comment on those private conversations,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said Tuesday. Clooney’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
On October 11, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced that the studios had paused discussions because “the gap between AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and the talks are no longer moving us in a productive direction.” The studio side particularly highlighted the guild’s latest revenue-sharing proposal, which in its current form seeks to create a new pool of money for performers whose work appears on streaming services. The Union will do this by charging each subscriber a fixed amount for these services. Arguing that the union was asking studios to shell out more than $800 million annually, AMPTP called this latest demand an “unsustainable economic burden.” (The union disputed that number, saying the companies were “overstating it by 60 percent.”)
A day later, Crabtree-Ireland said THR The companies’ decision to walk away from the table surprised him, given that the negotiating day leading up to it had been fairly unremarkable and, in his view, the revised SAG-AFTRA proposal was a “pretty huge concession.”
The two sides also remain apart on some other key issues in the SAG-AFTRA negotiations, such as regulations surrounding the use of artificial intelligence and the minimum wage. Regarding the former, SAG-AFTRA argued that the current proposal for studios allows employers to obtain consent from a performer to use AI once in a franchise project and use it for the rest of the franchise. The guild continues to push for higher pay increases than those offered to the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America — 5 percent in the first year, and 4 and 3.5 percent in subsequent years of the contract — which the AMPTP wants to apply to performers as well,
Meanwhile, the ongoing actors’ strike, which has shut down the majority of local union productions, is approaching its 100th day. In the final weeks of the recent WGA strike, prominent directors including Kenya Barris (blackish), Noah Hawley (Fargo(And Courtney Kemp)power) Asked union leaders questions about the impasse in negotiations with the studios. Ultimately, Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA’s negotiating committee, spoke with studio presidents Bob Iger, David Zaslav, Ted Sarandos, and Donna Langley, and the executives agreed to attend negotiations as long as necessary to get the deal done.
Langley made a similar promise in an appearance at a Bloomberg Screentime event on October 11, just hours before AMPTP announced that the studios would suspend talks with SAG-AFTRA. “We have spent time with the actors, and we want to spend as much time as possible so that we can come to a resolution and get the industry back on its feet and back to business as were our goals from day one.” She said. -Additional reporting by Rebecca Keegan