Actors’ strike ends: The SAG-AFTRA deal, what happened and what’s next

A sign that reads "SAG-AFTRA on Strike!" in front of a black fence
SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America members take to the picket line outside Netflix in Los Angeles.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In July, Hollywood’s actors joined writers on picket lines for the first time in 63 years.

After nearly four months, the actors’ strike has ended after SAG-AFTRA’s leadership approved a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Nov. 8.

Who was on strike?

Members of of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists who work under the union’s film and TV contract with companies that belong to the AMPTP, a group that represents all the major producers in Hollywood.

Members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike on May 2 but reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP on Sept. 24.

Here’s a detailed list of types of film and TV industry jobs that were on strike as well as those that were not.

The last time Hollywood actors and writers were both on strike was in 1960. The president of the Screen Actors Guild at the time was an actor named Ronald Reagan.

The WGA made a deal. What about SAG-AFTRA?

While the writers came to a tentative agreement with the studios in late September and ratified a deal in October, SAG-AFTRA remained on strike.

SAG-AFTRA resumed talks with the studios but the strike dragged on as the two sides negotiated.

The negotiating committee of the performers’ union approved a tentative deal on Nov. 8. It will still need to be ratified by the members.

Additionally, the actors who work under SAG-AFTRA’s interactive contract, including those who provide voice work for video games, are considering a second SAG-AFTRA strike.

Here’s what to know about a potential SAG-AFTRA strike against video game companies.

How did the actors’ strike happen?

SAG-AFTRA, a 160,000-member performers union, voted in favor of a strike authorization by 98% before negotiations began with the studios in June. After they couldn’t reach an agreement by the contract expiration on June 30, they extended talks for two weeks until July 12. Then, a federal mediator was brought in before the extension ended with no new contract.

On July 13, the SAG-AFTRA board voted to approve the strike. Actors joined the picket lines July 14.

Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA and former star of “The Nanny,” delivered a fiery speech when the union announced its strike plans.

This story details what went wrong between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP.

Why are the actors on strike?

SAG-AFTRA proposed that a third-party company measure the success of shows and that residual payments be tied to how they perform. AMPTP companies rejected that idea, arguing that many streaming platforms are not yet profitable.

Other sticking points were over self-taped auditions, contributions to the union’s health and pension plan and a pay increase.

Artificial intelligence also emerged as a major issue in negotiations.

Where can striking actors get help?

There are a number of grants, loans and other funds that impacted members of SAG-AFTRA can access.

An Arlington Heights food bank offers free groceries to writers and actors on strike.

What films and TV shows are shut down because of the strike?

Some high-profile projects already in production, including “Deadpool 3” with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman and “Gladiator 2,” starring Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal and Denzel Washington, have shut down because of the strike.

Here’s a list of the major movies and TV shows delayed because of the strikes.

What movies and TV shows are still in production during the strike?

SAG-AFTRA has granted waivers to some independent films and television shows. The projects allowed to continue filming are not affiliated with the major studios and streaming giants that are members of the AMPTP.

Projects with big names attached, including Mel Gibson, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Paul Rudd and Jenna Ortega, are among those allowed to continue filming.

The work stoppage does not apply to performers who work under other contracts, such as actors who work on commercials, soap operas and talk shows. Broadcasters who are in the union also are not affected.

Can actors go to premieres and film festivals?

Actors (and writers) cannot attend promotional events.

SAG-AFTRA specifies that actors cannot act, sing, dance, perform stunts, pilot on-camera aircraft, puppeteer or do performance capture and motion capture work in front of the camera.

Impacted events include San Diego Comic-Con and the London premiere of “Oppenheimer.”

The strikes also are affecting the film festival circuit. “Challengers,” which stars Zendaya, was supposed to open the Venice Film Festival in August and its theatrical release date has been pushed to 2024.