While Viola Davis’ upcoming movie G20 reached a temporary agreement with SAG-AFTRA to continue filming, she is taking a step back amid the ongoing union strike.
“I love this movie, but I do not feel that it would be appropriate for this production to move forward during the strike,” Davis, 57, told Deadline in a statement on Saturday, July 29. “I appreciate that the producers on the project agree with this decision. JuVee Productions and I stand in solidarity with actors, SAG/AFTRA and the WGA.”
The EGOT winner — who helms her JuVee Productions company alongside husband Julius Tennon — and the MRC-produced picture had been granted a SAG-AFTRA interim waiver on Friday, July 28, as MRC is not affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). G20, of which Davis is also a producer, is slated to be distributed by Amazon Studios.
It is not known how Davis’ exit will impact production or if filming will halt for the duration of the strike.
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher announced earlier this month that the union — which represents more than 160,000 performers — authorized a strike after the AMPTP did not compromise on any of their terms regarding fair wages, residual check sums and the use of artificial intelligence in media.
“This is a very seminal hour for us. I went in thinking that we would be able to avert a strike. The gravity of this move is not lost on me,” Drescher, 65, said in a press conference on July 13. “It’s a very serious thing that impacts thousands, if not millions of people all across this country and around the world. Not only members of this union but people who work in other industries that service the people that work in this industry. … We had no choice. We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.”
According to the terms of the strike, unionized actors are forbidden from filming TV and movie projects and promoting their past, present and future work via social media. Several projects from smaller film and TV studios, like G20, have been able to continue production with the use of a temporary waiver from SAG-AFTRA if they agree to met the union’s demands for its stars. Other international productions have also continued as normal as their actors are unionized under Equity and not SAG-AFTRA.
Many SAG actors, including Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman, have been vocal about watching their peers keep working amid the strike.
“I feel f—king pissed off, and I know I just must not be understanding something. There are, like, 40 movies being made right now,” Silverman, 52, said in an Instagram video on Thursday, July 27. “Movie stars are making movies because they’re ‘independent movies,’ and SAG is allowing it because if they do sell it to streaming, it has to be because streaming is abiding by all the things we’re asking for. … That’s just working! The strike ends when they come to the table and we make a deal in agreement.”