This Friday morning (21), names like Brian Cox (Succession) Simon Pegg and Hayley Atwell (Mission: Impossible 7) came together in a protest organized by the equity body equivalent to the Actors Union (SAG-AFTRA) in the United Kingdom, showing solidarity with their American colleagues. The act lasted approximately 45 minutes, divided so that each of the professionals present could speak.
Scotsman Brian Cox used his time off to warn against the use of artificial intelligence in audiovisual presentations. According to him, a friend of his received a non-contractual notice that his recorded image would later be used by a studio he was negotiating with for participation in a TV series.
“They were clearly told to keep their image and do whatever they want with it. This is a completely unacceptable situation, and it’s a situation we have to fight against, because it’s the worst aspect. The pay is one thing, but the worst aspect is the whole idea of AI and what AI can do to us. It’s going to happen to everyone. We have to stop!”
#succession Star Brian Cox speaks at rally for equity in support of SAG-AFTRA: “Wages are one thing, but the worst aspect is the whole idea of AI and what AI can do to us.” https://t.co/I0xc68oxjf pic.twitter.com/S3gaMkEbLy
— Diversity (@diversity) 21 July 2023
Since UK union members cannot effectively participate in the US strike for legal reasons, actress Hayley Atwell told Variety that all union members are showing solidarity:
“As members of Equity, we are not legally allowed to go on strike, but we do everything possible to support those who may go on strike, and also to ensure that Equity is not used as a backdoor for anyone trying to work their way through reengineering the system.”
She also revealed that she had already had her image scanned in productions for aging scenes – a task which, according to the actress, could easily have been avoided with a return to the use of prosthetics.
“All the actors I’ve talked to have said, ‘Yeah, we were scrutinized for one thing we did, but we don’t have control over that’ and it needs to be regulated so that when you sign up to do something like that, you’re safe and know what you’re getting into and where you have control and where you don’t.”
There is no end date for the pause yet; Hollywood actors and screenwriters have still not reached an agreement with studios, which are not agreeing to the amount requested for pay increases as they try to reduce production costs.