The Hollywood actors’ union said Tuesday it had exempted 39 independent film and television projects from its strike, including two films by A24, the secretive New York company that has become a force at the Academy Awards.
SAG-AFTRA, as the union is known, said the productions could shoot during the strike because it has verified that they do not have ties to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of the major studios. Talks between the union and the alliance for a new three-year contract broke down on Thursday, and tens of thousands of actors went on strike on Friday.
More waivers could be approved as the union evaluates applications. To be considered, productions must agree to temporarily follow the terms of the latest proposal that SAG-AFTRA put on the table during negotiations. The productions will become subject to the final agreement between the union and the studio alliance.
The 39 projects include “Mother Mary,” a melodrama co-financed by A24 and starring Anne Hathaway as a fictional musician and Michaela Coel (known for HBO’s “I May Destroy You”) as a fashion designer. The second A24 project, “Death of a Unicorn,” stars Paul Rudd and Jenna Ortega, who is known for “Wednesday” on Netflix. It tells the story of a man and his teenage daughter who, while driving in a remote place, come across a unicorn.
A24 was behind “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which won the Oscar for best picture in March.
A waiver also went to “The Rivals of Amziah King,” a crime thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and produced by Teddy Schwarzman, whose father is Blackstone’s chief executive, Stephen A. Schwarzman. “The Chosen,” a popular religious TV series, may also continue in a new season, as well as “Bride Hard,” an action comedy starring Rebel Wilson that involves a mercenary group and a lavish wedding.
Hollywood actors haven’t gone on strike since 1980. They joined 11,500 screenwriters who walked out in May. Both unions said they were fed up with excessive pay for entertainment moguls and worried about not getting a fair share of the spoils of a streaming-dominated future. Actors and writers have not gone on strike at the same time since 1960.
No talks with either union are planned.