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EXCLUSIVE: After it emerged that over 300 actors had written to SAG-AFTRA leadership that they are “prepared to strike” if the guild doesn’t “get all the way there” during talks with the studios, the number of actors signing the letter has more than tripled overnight.
Deadline can reveal that the letter has now been signed by over 1,000 actors, including stars such as Charlize Theron, Joaquin Phoenix, Jamie Lee Curtis, Cobie Smulders and Pedro Pascal, as well as, curiously SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.
Other names recently added include Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Rose Byrne, Olivia Wilde, Ewan McGregor, Aubrey Plaza, Rooney Mara and Sarah Paulson.
Given that Drescher, the star of long-running sitcom The Nanny, is essentially leading the charge during negotiations with the AMPTP, alongside chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, her signature is an interesting move.
Having said that, Drescher, who also starred in This Is Spinal Tap and NBC comedy Indebted, drove the membership to a strike authorization vote, saying “acting careers are at stake”.
Her signature also comes after SAG-AFTRA’s two leading political factions have joined forces to form a unity slate to endorse her reelection and the reelection of secretary-treasurer Joely Fisher.
“Solidarity demands honesty, and we need to make clear our resolve. A strike brings incredible hardships to so many, and no one wants it. But we are prepared to strike if it comes to that. And we are concerned by the idea that SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not. We hope you’ve heard the message from us. This is an unprecedented inflection point in our industry, and what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough,” the letter noted.
“This is not a moment to meet in the middle, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the eyes of history are on all of us. We ask that you push for all the change we need and protections we deserve and make history doing it. If you are not able to get all the way there, we ask that you use the power given to you by us, the membership, and join the WGA on the picket lines,” it added.
Yesterday, it was revealed that the letter was signed by the likes of Quinta Brunson, Glenn Close, Jennifer Lawrence, Mark Ruffalo, Meryl Streep and Ben Stiller.
SAG-AFTRA declined to comment.