Ethan Hawke Calls Out Studios for Walking Away from Strike Negotiations
As the actors' strike approaches its 100-day mark, Hollywood A-listers like Sarah Paulson, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Josh Charles, and Ethan Hawke took to the picket lines in New York City to demand a fair contract. Ethan Hawke, known for his intense on-screen performances and role of Chet Baker in our very own production of 'Born to be Blue', vocalized his growing frustration with the studios for what he sees as an avoidable impasse.
Hawke revealed his initial anticipation for a swift resolution to the strike, candidly sharing his thoughts as he snacked on a coffee-drenched donut. "The longer it goes on, the more angry and frustrated with corporate entities I become," he said to Rolling Stone. "The reasons for this strike are becoming increasingly clear to all of us."
For months, actors have been rallying across the country, demanding wage increases adjusted for inflation, AI protections, a share of Hollywood studios' revenue, and more. On October 2, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) finally met face-to-face with Hollywood executives for the first time since the strike began on July 14. However, after five days of negotiations spread over eight days, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing Hollywood streamers and studios, abruptly walked away from the bargaining table.
Ethan Hawke is a member of both the actors' and writers' unions, and his disappointment at the studios' stance is palpable. He celebrated when the Writers Guild of America secured a tentative deal last month and again when writers ratified a new contract on October 9, which guaranteed improved wage increases for streaming services, minimum staffing levels, and AI protections. Back on the picket line with the actors, he expressed his exasperation with the greed of Hollywood executives.
"They control the keys to the kingdom when it comes to getting our work seen, but if they refuse to cooperate, we'll find alternative ways to create art," Hawke declared.
Last week, during the negotiations, prominent industry figures, including Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and NBCUniversal Chief Content Officer Donna Langley, were all in attendance. On October 11, SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee members presented a subscriber-based plan that would cost companies 57 cents per subscriber annually. This proposal, however, was deemed "a bridge too far" by Sarandos, leading to the suspension of negotiations.