At the Asteroid City premiere last night, Scarlett Johansson was asked about the writers’ strike and the potential actors’ strike. SAG-AFTRA’s current agreement expires on June 30. Negotiations have been underway since June 7. While an actors’ strike is not a certainty, it is definitely a possibility, and for Scarjo in particular, she’s already personally familiar with a labour stoppage since she’s married to Colin Jost, who is a writer, and he’s been striking for weeks.
Scarlett was asked about the strike on the carpet. She told Variety that:
"Whatever happens moving forward will forever change how revenue is determined. It’s a thing that has needed to happen for a long time, that we’ve been talking about for a long time, and it’s finally reached this breaking point. It’s important for all of us creatives to unite and support this massive shift so we can get over to the other side, which we will.”
Most of the Asteroid City cast were open to talking about the strike at the premiere, including Bryan Cranston:
“This experience on the Wes Anderson film really taught me how wonderful it is to be around human beings,” said Cranston. “To have a group of people come together both above the line and below the line and work together. To dine together. To get to know each other and still do the work. It was a full, encompassing experience. Right now, at this juncture in our business, AI presents a threat to social interaction and social interaction is often the germ for ideas that become creative content. Go through any studio or network right now. It’s quiet. It’s empty. Six people are in the building. The mood is down. It doesn’t feel active, alive or creative. The less people you have actually involved, literally the less human it becomes. And the less interesting it’s going to become.”
I love what he said about AI because, as we know, AI is a huge issue for everyone in the industry in how it will impact the creative process, the “social interaction” that Bryan refers to. This intangible connection that happens between creatives is being devalued – and for actors, it also has an effect on not just their connection to others but to themselves. A couple of actors recently told me that more and more actors have been getting pushed to get themselves virtually scanned. And one day, perhaps not too far from now, that data will be put in place to get MORE work out them. Because if there’s an AI version of them out there, they can, in digital theory, work on multiple projects at the same time. Like they can be in-person shooting on a television series in Los Angeles, but their AI can be used to work on a blockbuster that’s in production in London and maybe another big budget feature that’s rolling in Toronto on the same day. Which… if that’s true, never mind how weird that is in general but also, if the issue here is compensation, what would the compensation structure be in those situations if indeed there will be a time when an actor’s “work” on a project is, say, half AI (even if it is their own avatar, or whatever the f-ck it’s called) and half themselves actually, live, in flesh and blood?
This is just one piece of what’s being discussed in the negotiations so it’ll be very interesting to see how it all plays out.
In the meantime, here’s a living breathing Scarjo in white on the carpet and then in a flirty floral dress with Colin for the afterparty.