Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt walk out of Oppenheimer UK premiere in ‘solidarity’
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Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt walked out of the UK premiere of Oppenheimer in solidarity with striking writers.
The lead actors starring in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed and highly anticipated war film, left the event early.
“You’ve seen them here earlier on the red carpet,” Nolan told the cinema’s audience today (13 July).
“Unfortunately, they’re off to write their picket signs for what we believe to be an imminent strike by SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), joining one of my guilds, the Writers Guild, in the struggle for fair wages for working members of the unions, and we support them.”
Before the screening, the actors had walked the red carpet and chatted with fans and the press in attendance.
SAG-AFTRA, an American labour union representing approximately 160,000 film and television actors and other media workers, approved a strike on Thursday.
This now means that actors and writers, the latter of whom have already been on strike, will put a pause on their working commitments simultaneously, which hasn’t happened in 60 years and effectively shutting down Hollywood.
The decision for the strike came hours after contract negotiations with companies like Amazon, Disney and Warner Bros., failed to reach an agreement before the Wednesday (12 July) midnight deadline.
Now, SAG-AFTRA’s members have been approved to strike, joining screenwriters who have been picketing against working conditions since May.
Emily Blunt told Deadline during the red carpet event before the screening that she and the other cast members would leave if a walkout was approved.
She said: “I think right now we are just sort of - I hope everyone makes a fair deal and we are here to celebrate this movie. "And if they call [a strike], we’ll be leaving together as cast in unity with everyone. … We are gonna have to. We are gonna have to. We will see what happens. Right now it’s the joy to be together.”
In a press conference on Thursday (13 July), SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said: “Because the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on key issues essential to protecting the livelihoods of working actors and performers, SAG-AFTRA’s national board unanimously voted to issue a strike order against studios and streamers."
The landmark decision is the first time since 1960 that both actors and writers have joined the picket line in film and television productions, and comes after the actor's union released a statement announcing that contract talks ended last night without a resolution.
Writers Guild of America writers are striking to protest for increased funding and job security and to limit the use of AI in writing.