On Sunday, a day before negotiations are set to resume between striking actors and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, some actors joined members of Medieval Times Performers United, who have been on strike for seven months, to picket outside one of the restaurant’s locations in Buena Park.
The American Guild of Variety Artists, a sister union to SAG-AFTRA, represents Medieval Times performers.
“It’s incredibly heartening to see the AMPTP finally ready to seriously bargain with the writers and actors,” says Erin Zapcic, a strike captain for Medieval Times Performers United. “And as happy as we are for our union brothers and sisters, the reality is that Medieval Times has never once tried to end our strike and it’s been over seven months. We’re just as fired up as we’ve ever been, and we’re thrilled and honored to have SAG-AFTRA join us on our picket line to show this company we’re not going anywhere.”
As for SAG-AFTRA members, negotiators said in a statement that meetings with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will resume on Monday, Oct. 2.
This meeting would mark the first-time negotiating sides have met since actors walked out on July 14, seeking better pay as well as protections against studio’s use of artificial intelligence.
The indication to resume talks comes on the heels of the Writers Guild of America striking a deal with major studio heads and streamers on Sept. 24. The strike officially ended at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 27.
The actors guild said several studio executives will attend, much as they did during marathon sessions last week that helped bring the nearly five-month writers strike to an end.
Ahead of Monday’s talks, however, actress Justine Bateman, SAG-AFTRA’s AI advisor during negotiations, posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, that there is still a lot at stake, particularly for the most famous of actors out there.
“The most famous actors have the greatest risk here,” Bateman wrote. “The prompts are going to be (or continue to be), ‘Give me a female character who looks like Jennifer Lawrence & Megan Fox, moves like Meryl Streep in SILKWOOD, dances like Ginger Rogers, with a Penelope Cruz accent.”
She went on to say that now is the time for actors to voice their dissatisfaction with what studios are negotiating for, which is “consent and compensation for both ‘digital doubles’ (where it’s obviously you) and training AI models.”
“While writers have multiple scripts/directions, actors have just ONE face/body/voice,” Batman wrote. “Once their body movements, voice, gestures, and essence is freely put in the AI blender, our business is all but finished.”
The strikes have had a “catastrophic” impact on late-night television viewing, according to the research firm Samba TV. Without Colbert, Fallon and Kimmel proving fresh, topical material, the broadcast networks have seen late-night viewership declines of between 40% and 50%, Ashwin Navin, Samba TV co-founder. “It remains to be seen how late night will rebound to its previous relevance,” he said.
Monday is the same day that network late-night hosts will return to the air. Scripted shows will take longer to return, with actors still on strike and negotiations only just beginning.
Picketing outside of Medieval Times, located at 7662 Beach Boulevard, was scheduled to last from 12:45-5 p.m. on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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