Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard brought Hollywood glamour to the Toronto International Film Festival for their family drama. Memory? Amid strikes that have kept most celebrities off the carpets. The film received an interim agreement from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), allowing the stars to promote their work at a festival that’s been primarily star-less due to the ongoing writers. And actors? Strikes.
The SAG-AFTRA strike that began on July 14 has forced movie studios to stop production since actors are not allowed to appear in movies produced by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). However, some independent producers have secured interim agreements from SAG-AFTRA, allowing the films to continue forward while the union is on strike. Some of these films are now showcased at the fall film festival circuit, including Venice and Telluride.
While some actors are hesitant to appear on the red carpet while the strike is still active, others are eager to get their work in front of audiences and critics. The latter is significant for films aiming for Oscar buzz, such as Michael Mann’s Ferrari, which premiered this weekend at Venice. Chastain, who plays Sylvia in the drama, said she nearly did not attend the fest due to her apprehensions about promoting the film amid the SAG-AFTRA strike.
However, she said she felt compelled to support her fellow actors by making the trip. She added that she hopes other stars will do the same to help the union’s efforts in the negotiations with AMPTP.
For Sarsgaard, the upcoming awards season is a necessary time to showcase his work. He hopes the strike will end soon, and he believes that the filmmakers producing the next generation of big-budget blockbusters will take note of the strike’s impact.
But he also noted that it’s critical to remember that a backlog of interim agreements could put actors and filmmakers at a disadvantage once the strikes end. For example, if an AMPTP-affiliated company acquires a film produced with an interim agreement, the film would need to be rewritten to pay actors their required residuals. That might be fine for some films, but it could be problematic for others. And if the strikes continue soon, studios will be stuck with many star-driven projects that could premiere without their casts. That includes such significant films as Maestro, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Dune Part II. That should spur the AMPTP to return to the table faster.