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US: Actors begin strike alongside writers in a fight over future of Hollywood 

STRIKING screen actors will began picketing alongside writers in New York and Los Angeles today in what has become the biggest Hollywood union dispute in decades.

The strikes will shut down the small number of productions that continued shooting in the two months since screenwriters stopped working.

Many actors made a show of solidarity on the writers’ picket lines, including Fran Drescher, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) president and former star of The Nanny.

The union’s 65,000-member actors’ branch will now formally take action.

The two guilds have similar issues with studios and streaming services.

Both are concerned about contracts keeping up with inflation, residual payments in the streaming era and putting up guardrails against the use of artificial intelligence mimicking their work on film and television shows.

The famous faces of Oscar and Emmy winners will likely be seen with some regularity on picket lines, adding star power to the writers’ demonstrations outside studios and corporate offices.

No talks are planned, and no end is in sight for the strike, the first time both guilds have walked off sets since 1960, when then-actor and future US president Ronald Regan was SAG’s leader.

Ms Drescher delivered a fiery rebuke of studios and streaming services when announcing union leaders’ unanimous vote to strike.

She said: “We had no choice. We are the victims here. We are being victimised by a very greedy entity.

“I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. 

“I cannot believe it, quite frankly: how far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their chief executives.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents employers including Disney, Netflix, Amazon and others, said that the walkout, would hurt thousands of workers in industries that support film and television production.

The actors’ strike means actors will no longer be allowed to promote their work through red carpet premieres and personal appearances, campaign for Emmy Awards or take part in auditions or rehearsals.

While international film shoots technically can continue, the stoppage among US-based writers and performers is likely to also have an impact on that work too.

The writers’ strike brought the immediate shutdown of late-night talk shows, as well as several scripted shows that have either had their writers’ rooms or productions paused.

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