• SAG-AFTRA are still on strike
  • Several big actors are getting behind them
  • THIS is what they're doing to help now

Many have been scratching their heads for months now, wondering how to resolve things and get actors back to work. Hollywood giant, George Clooney and several other top Hollywood actors offered to pay an estimated $50 million annually in increased dues in an effort to help end the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, as 'TheWrap' has reported. Their proposal also includes reversing how residuals are paid, sending payment to the lowest billed actors on a project first instead of the top billed.

Top film actors, among them Tyler Perry, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone, met on Tuesday via Zoom with union leaders including president Fran Drescher. Insiders say that the proposal, which was taken back to the guild’s negotiating committee, was rebuffed. 

Will Hollywood's best bring an end to the strike?

George Clooney spoke to 'Deadline' and explained that the proposal would see the industry’s top-earning actors defraying costs to AMPTP signatories by eliminating the cap on membership dues, which is currently $1 million, and is an effort to bridge a gap in negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP. 

The union’s workings are complex as everyone has come to find out since the strike began. For instance, only the SAG-AFTRA National Convention has the authority to change the union’s dues system. And the stars appear to be proposing that the dues cap be removed for all members, not just their superstar cohort.

RELEASE DATE: December 25, 2023. TITLE: The Boys In The Boat. STUDIO: . DIRECTOR: George Clooney. PLOT: A 1930s-set stor

"It’s awesome that they want to be helpful. There are structural issues with what they’re proposing that isn’t how our contracts and union works. We’d love for them to get involved as captains right now," said one SAG-AFTRA insider. The proposal follows a Zoom call that major SAG-AFTRA members participated in with top union leaders on Tuesday to learn more about what led to the current impasse in negotiations with the AMPTP.

Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, Tyler Perry, Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Laura Dern and Ryan Reynolds were all present on Tuesday’s call, a source familiar with the meeting has told 'The Hollywood Reporter.'

Everyone brought their arguments to the table

Also in the conversation is a residual system for streaming including a formula that would make the lowest names on the call sheet, who presumably are the least wealthy, the first to be paid. Meanwhile, the top-billed actors on a given project would be the last to be paid their respective residuals.

This deal would amount to about $50 million annually, or $150 million over the course of the three-year contract. 'TheWrap' reports that SAG-AFTRA has yet to approve or reject this offer and is expected to release a formal statement on the matter shortly.

"A lot of the top earners want to be part of the solution," Clooney told 'Deadline'. "These negotiations will be ongoing, but we wanted to show that we’re all in this together and find ways to help close the gap on actors getting paid."

But pundits remain skeptical of a quick fix here. Even if Clooney’s proposal gained traction, implementing it would not be so simple. Any changes to the dues structure would have to be voted on by delegates during the guild’s national convention. That convention is set to be held virtually this weekend, and the submission deadline for resolutions to be voted on passed a month ago.

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The parties also continue to have disagreements on issues including regulations on the use of artificial intelligence in entertainment and raises to minimum wage rates. The studios maintain that their current package of proposals is valued at over $1 billion. And this is an issue that won't go away anytime soon.

The concerning part is that nobody seems closer to a satisfactory answer, even after months of strike. There will be much more to discuss on this as SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP negotiators blame one another after the studios walked away from the bargaining table. But many see this as virtue signaling that is not helping matters when the business is shut down and below-the-line workers struggle to hang on after weathering the WGA strike, and now this one. It seems admirable that this group is willing to kick in this amount of money to move the negotiations to a close.

Meanwhile, studios have been unable to properly promote their theatrical and streaming releases, since striking actors are forbidden from doing publicity for such projects. This has done damage to both conventional theatrical pre-release marketing campaigns and what should have been a vibrant awards season...