US actors’ strike halts productions in Czechia

Production on two series ground to a halt and won't resume until the strike is settled, which is not expected to happen anytime soon. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.07.2023 10:52:00 (updated on 19.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The strike of two U.S. film industry unions has suspended filming on some projects in the Czech Republic and may impact the work of thousands of crew members. However, industry insiders say it is not yet possible to estimate its full financial impact.

According to producer Radomír Dočekal, co-owner of the production company Milk & Honey and vice chairman of the Audiovisual Producers' Association, filming on some projects involving British or German unions is still ongoing. The rules for Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) members working on international productions are not clear.

Actors and scriptwriters ask for better pay and working conditions

Among the affected projects is the science-fiction series Foundation, produced by Apple TV+ and inspired by the works of U.S. writer Isaac Asimov. The production, which started on May 26 and was originally scheduled to continue until autumn, has been abruptly interrupted due to the strike, Dočekal says.

The strike, which began on May 26, initially involved scriptwriters from the Writers Guild of America voicing their discontent over pay and working conditions. As of July 13, members of SAG-AFTRA joined their fellow industry professionals on the picket lines.

The concerns of the actors include the need for increased compensation, better pension and healthcare benefits, and protection against unauthorized use of their images through artificial intelligence without proper compensation.

Rules not clear for international productions

Sets that have already been built will have to be preserved so work can resume after the strike ends, Dočekal told news agency ČTK. The most recent writers' strike happened between November 5, 2007, and February 12, 2008, lasting more than three months.

"Everyone is waiting to see how long this situation will last. It is estimated that it could be until September, or even until the end of the year. This means that all projects will be carried out after the New Year only," he added.

According to film news site The Prague Reporter, the production of the second season of Interview with the Vampire, which has so far been filmed at Prague's Barrandov Studio as well as locations like Prague Castle and the Estates Theatre, has also stopped.

The Czech capital doubles for Paris during World War II in the series, which is based on the novel by Anne Rice, and stars Sam Reid, Jacob Anderson, Delainey Hayles, Eric Bogosian, Assad Zaman, and Ben Daniels.

On the other hand, production of the Amazon Studios' third season of the fantasy series The Wheel of Time continues. Based on novels by U.S. writer Robert Jordan, with Brandon Sanderson as a co-author for the final three novels, the series stars Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney. Filming for the third season began in mid-April and was expected to last until October.

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