‘At least get in the room’ with striking actors

By Omar Younis

October 13, 2023 – 11:44 PM UTC

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Oscar winner George Clooney urged Hollywood studios on Friday to return to the bargaining table with striking actors to try and resolve their differences over a new labor contract.

Negotiations between the studios and the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union were suspended on Wednesday after studios rejected a demand for a bonus tied to the number of streaming TV subscribers. Clooney called the breakdown in talks “worrisome.”

“At least get in the room. Don’t take a vacation,” Clooney said when asked about the ongoing strike while attending a ceremony in Los Angeles at the Roybal School of Film and Television Production Magnet, which he co-founded.

The “Gravity” actor said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher had told him she was ready to restart talks to try to end the work stoppage that started in July.

He said he hoped the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents Netflix (NFLX.O), Walt Disney (DIS.N) and other companies, would decide to come back and negotiate.

“Hopefully we can just get in a room and get this thing solved,” he said.

A spokesperson for the AMPTP did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Wednesday, the group said the gap between the parties was “too great” and that conversations were “no longer moving us in a productive direction.”

The suspension in talks interrupted attempts to end labor tensions that have put most U.S.-based film and television production on hold, cost the California economy billions and left thousands of actors and crew members without work.

Reporting by Omar Younis;Writing by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler