Hollywood actors' lead negotiator says progress made with studios

Hollywood might finally be on the verge of fully going back to work.

The lead negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, the actor’s union, tells Variety progress has been made towards ending the actors strike, though he notes there are still several issues that remain unresolved.

“I think [the strike’s end date] depends on the mindset that everybody brings to the table this week,” he said. “I certainly hope we can move things forward quickly, but there are important issues that are still open, and until they’re done, there’s no deal.”

Those comments follow negotiations on both Saturday and Sunday, with more talks expected this week. Notably, the union has also reached an interim agreement that would let the stars of the Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes promote the film, appear on the Red Carpet and discuss it on social media, something actors in other film and TV shows have not been permitted to do.

Actors have been on strike now for 109 days, just over a month shy of the 148 days writers were off the job before they reached an agreement with the studios.

One of the issues that reportedly still needs to be resolved is the use of artificial intelligence and whether studios will be allowed to recreate a performers’ likeness (and what compensation there would be for doing so). The status of other issues, including residual payments, are unknown.

As was the case when the writers strike drew to a close, the heads of major studios, including Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and Warner Bros. Discover CEO David Zaslav, are directly involved in the negotiations.

The combined cost of the actors’ and writers’ strikes on the economy has been calculated at around $5 billion so far, according to the Milken Institute.

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