WHEN THE SAG-AFTRA strike began, we were told that it would bring the Hollywood film industry grinding to a halt. With new productions paused and project promotions strictly forbidden, celebrations of the industry like the Venice Film Festival were expected to face major difficulties. But, as we’ve just learnt, there are exceptions to the strike’s rules—one that’s paid dividends for a major film, Adam Driver’s Ferrari.
No, you’re not going crazy if you recall the rules of the actors’ strike prohibiting actors from promoting their films. That was our understanding of the situation as well. To make an exception to the rules, Adam Driver and the cast of Ferrari struck a special interim deal with producer’s which allowed them to hit the red carpet in Venice.
As the biggest drawcard on the festival’s opening night, Ferrari’s world premiere went down a treat. Viewers were compelled to give the film a seven-and-a-half minute standing ovation after the curtains closed. Director Michael Mann made sure his leading man, who had previously taken reclusive back seat role on the night, basked in the celebratory glory that is being cheered by your peers and adoring fans.
The Venice Film Festival is one of the world’s most prestigious cultural events. A celebration of arthouse European films and Hollywood blockbusters alike, the festival is usually marked by a slew of A-listers sipping prosecco amid the scenic backdrop of the Lido di Venezia. Things are a little different this time around, however, as the actors’ strikes have prevented many of the biggest stars from attending. However, a handful of big names, like Adam Driver, have secured exemption’s in what could be a sign of the strikes winding down. Allow us to explain.
The first Ferrari teaser trailer has arrived
While Adam Driver was on hand for the premiere of the highly-anticipated Enzo Ferrari biopic, Ferrari, audiences haven’t been able to catch even a glimpse of the film until now. Viewers were treated to their first look at Ferrari thanks to the release of the films first original trailer, which shows Driver as the enigmatic automotive scion who seemingly will do anything to win, at any cost.
“If you get into one of my cars, you get into win.”
The trailer also offers a look at Penélope Cruz, who plays Laura Ferrari, the wife of Enzo Ferrari. The biopic is set to be released worldwide on December 25, 2023.
Who will be at the Venice Film Festival?
Salvation for those worried they would miss out on the sight of their favourite movie star downing an Aperol Spritz this month. Special interim agreements have been made that have allowed some actors to make the trip to Venice, and to promote their films—right when we were starting to have withdrawals.
In addition to Driver, other actors attending the Venice Film Festival include stars such as Jacob Elordi and Mads Mikkelson. Driver is arguably the biggest name at the event, with his role as the analytically cool Enzo Ferrari in Ferrari expected to land him an Oscar nomination.
In Venice, Jacob Elordi will be doing what heartthrobs do best, posing for pictures on the red carpet. Elordi will be joined by co-star Cailee Spaeny to promote Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, Priscilla Presley herself will also be making an appearance.
Bolstering the Venice ranks is Mads Mikkelson, who will be on scene to promote The Promised Land. Jessica Chastain took on her first role since she won an Oscar in Memory and she’ll be in Venice to drum up similar hype. Lastly, Landry Jones is coming to give Dogman a promotional boost.
How can some actors still promote their films?
SAG-AFTRA set out strict rules on what their members can and can’t do while on strike. If you’ve been following the news at all, you’ll likely remember that one of the things on their no-no list was promoting films. So, why has that decree seemingly been reversed all of a sudden?
In some cases, the answer has to do with the specific production companies behind certain films. SAG-AFTRA is striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a group that represents most major Hollywood studios. They are not striking against every moviemaking company on the planet, and as a result, they can still promote work they’ve done for studios independent from the AMPTP, as a result of one-off interim agreements.
These interim agreements will allow actors to promote select AMPTP produced films and independently produced films. Unfortunately, these agreements have been few and far between and cover an exceedingly small list of films originally planned to premiere in Venice, but hey, it’s better than nothing.
Isn’t that still against the rules of the strike?
Technically speaking, no. Interim agreements have allowed a brief reprieve from the rules of the strike, which will rage on after the Venice Film Festival concludes.
The main obstacle preventing actors from promoting films at the Venice Film Festival wasn’t the rules of the strike. The interim agreements are a win-win situation for studios and actors, who both have financial interests motivating the push to promote their films.
The biggest barrier to actor participation in Venice has been a debate over whether attending the festival, even if it’s only a one-off, would constitute breaking from solidarity with those on strike. Actors may have felt uncomfortable temporarily siding with the enemy to promote their own work, but SAG-AFTRA leadership quelled any lingering doubts in a statement. “From picket lines to film festivals, SAG-AFTRA members are strengthening the union’s bargaining position and demonstrating solidarity by supporting and promoting their approved Interim Agreement productions,” the guilds said.
Will the SAG/WGA strikes end soon?
There’s really no way to tell when the SAG/WGA strikes will be resolved. For reference, the most recent actor’s strike was in 1986 and only lasted 14 hours. Before that, a 1980 strike lasted three months.
The interim agreements are the first steps towards ending the SAG-AFTRA strike, and one the guild says will become “a strategic bargaining tool and an essential part of the union’s strategy to strengthen truly independent productions while weakening the resolve of the AMPTP.” By promoting non-AMPTP studios productions, SAG-AFTRA is increasing the pressure on AMPTP members to negotiate, as AMPTP productions will now be at a promotional disadvantage.
We always knew the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes were going to interrupt the film industry, but now that they actually are, we’re feeling slightly exasperated. Sure, power to the people and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, we just want our favourite bingeworthy content back on screen.