The Hollywood actors’ union said Tuesday that it had exempted 39 independent film and TV projects from its strike, including two movies from 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 had verified that they had no ties to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of the biggest 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 has put on the table during negotiations. The productions will become subject to the final deal 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 “I May Destroy You” on HBO) 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 location, crash into 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 the Blackstone chief executive, Stephen A. Schwarzman. “The Chosen,” a popular religious TV series, can also continue on a new season, as can “Bride Hard,” an action comedy starring Rebel Wilson that involves a mercenary group and a lavish wedding.
Hollywood’s actors had not been on strike since 1980. They joined 11,500 screenwriters, who walked out in May. Both unions have said they are fed up with exorbitant pay for entertainment moguls and worried about not receiving a fair share of the spoils of a streaming-dominated future. Actors and writers had not been on strike at the same time since 1960.
No talks with either union are scheduled.