LOS ANGELES – Two weeks into the the actors strike, Max Greenfield is urging the studios and their CEOs to return to the bargaining table.
“Be the heroes, come to the table, make a deal,” said Greenfield, who co-stars in the CBS sitcom “The Neighborhood.” “My hope is these guys get organized and have a real conversation with both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA so that we can get to a resolution," he said, referencing the unions for the writers and actors, respectively.
Greenfield spoke at a charity ping pong event at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, joined by his co-star Cedric the Entertainer.
“We struck because our deal was up and it’s time to adjust to what has changed in the business. To make a minor adjustment feels disproportionate to what has obviously changed in a massive, massive way,” Greenfield said. “Until we feel like we’re getting fair compensation and we feel like we’re protected, this is going to continue to go on.”
Bryan Cranston, who had fiery words for Disney CEO Bob Iger at a New York rally on Tuesday, acknowledged things are “going very, very slowly.”
“Until we’re able to get back to the table, which we are more than willing to do and we’ve told them so, we want to keep talking through this strike,” he said. “We want to end this as soon as possible."
On July 14, actors joined striking screenwriters who walked out in May. The stoppage has shuttered nearly all film and television production.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writers Guild of America are striking for fair pay and protections involving the use of artificial intelligence, among other issues.
There has reportedly been no negotiating between the unions and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers since shortly after the actors hit the picket lines.
“I think when people realize that the artists are the people that are making this and nothing is going to get made without the actors and the writers, maybe that will force a little more flexibility in the negotiations,” Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck said.
Actor and entrepreneur Danny Trejo urged the studios to look beyond Hollywood's highest-paid actors and consider the financial plight of those working behind the scenes.
“One of the problems is people on top are making a lot of money right now and they don’t want to share,” he said. “We’ve got people that are in SAG that can’t even afford to live in LA. It’s like, wait a minute guys, we got to just be fair.
“Figure if one of your kids was trying to get into the movies and was working as an extra or just made it into SAG, they couldn’t live in LA,” Trejo said, imagining the offspring of a Hollywood CEO. “Oh no wait, yes they could. They could live in Beverly (expletive) Hills with you, punk.”
Trejo filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy earlier this year and owes over $2 million in back taxes to the IRS, according to a report by KABC-TV.
“I make good money, but right now I’m buried in taxes, so I have to work that out,” he said. “This strike is killing me. I can’t pay what I’m supposed to be paying for my taxes, so man, imagine the guy that’s making $18 an hour and not working all the time.”
Actor Holly Robinson-Peete, a SAG member since 1977, said it's important for the actors' union to communicate the economic issues behind the strike.
“We're not just a bunch of spoiled people that want more and we’re greedy,” she said. “The majority of our union are people who are not working very often, can’t really make a living at this. It’s going to take an incredible amount of patience and messaging, and we just got to stick to it.”