Actor Tom Cruise Lobbies on Behalf of Striking SAG-AFTRA Performers

Actor Tom Cruise Lobbies on Behalf of Striking SAG-AFTRA Performers

As the SAG-AFTRA strike drags on, Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise has been lobbying on behalf of the unions, says The Hollywood Reporter.

Cruise has been particularly piqued by the issue of whether the studios should be permitted to use artificial intelligence (AI) in future productions. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) wants the right to scan the likenesses of background actors for use in perpetuity. The studios want to pay these actors a single day’s wage for this benefit, which has raised the ire of the unions.

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According to press reports, Cruise also expressed his support for stunt performers and coordinators, and asked SAG-AFTRA to allow its members to continue promoting their work for the duration of the strike.
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It’s also being reported that Cruise’s lobbying activities were not directly related to his latest film Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One. That film had already concluded its promotional campaign, said Deadline, which noted that Cruise’s intervention “was instead an acknowledgment of the power [that] actor PR has in influencing box office results, which are of course crucial for theaters post-pandemic, and for the profession of acting, in turn.”

Cruise has long been an adamant supporter of the traditional movie-theater model as opposed to newer technologies. On recent social-media postings, he urged fans to see Oppenheimer and Barbie in brick-and-mortar theaters to benefit the industry overall. He also refused to allow Top Gun: Maverick to debut on an online streaming platform. Despite the pandemic, the film grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and captured six Oscar nominations.
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Steven Spielberg went on record to say that Cruise’s stance was responsible for “saving Hollywood’s ass.”

According to press reports, Cruise’s lobbying effort took place earlier this month, before negotiations broke down between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP. The current strike is the first walkout by both screenwriters and actors since 1960, when Ronald Reagan headed the actors’ union.

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