‘Oppenheimer’ cast walks out of premiere amid actors strike fallout


The cast of the upcoming atomic bomb drama Oppenheimer walked out of the U.K. premiere Thursday after SAG-AFTRA—the union representing screen actors—announced it would be striking alongside Hollywood writers.
(LtoR) US actors Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr., Irish actor Cillian Murphy, US-British actress Emily Blunt and US-British film director Christopher Nolan pose upon their arrival for the “Premiere” of the movie “Oppenheimer” at the Grand Rex cinema in Paris on July 11, 2023. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)
Key Takeaways
  • Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr. and Cillian Murphy, who all star in the film, left the premiere as the strike began, director Christopher Nolan said at the event.
  • Nolan expressed his support for the effort and shouted out the efforts by the Writers Guild of America—which has been striking since May —to attain fair wages for union members.
  • While walking the red carpet before Thursday’s premiere, Blunt had warned that if the union called a strike, the actors of Oppenheimer planned to leave the movie premiere “as a cast in unity with everyone.”
Crucial Quote

“We have to acknowledge (that) you’ve seen them here earlier on the red carpet,” Nolan said at the U.K. premiere. “Unfortunately they’re off to write their picket signs for what we believe to be an imminent strike by SAG.”

Key Background

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher announced the union’s national board unanimously agreed to strike beginning midnight Pacific time Thursday. This is the first time in more than 60 years both the actors and writers in Hollywood will be striking at the same time.

The decision was widely anticipated after SAG-AFTRA announced the contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents production companies and streaming services, expired without a deal being agreed to. All film and television production that uses SAG-AFTRA members will be shut down because of the strike.

Actors will also be barred from doing promotional work, such as events like the Oppenheimer premiere. Both the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA are seeking stronger protections in their contracts involving AI as the burgeoning technology becomes more popular in the film industry. They are also attempting to secure higher residual payments for work done on streaming platforms.

Big Number

160,000. That’s how many members SAG-AFTRA has in total, according to the union.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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