Change opens key posts to actors with prod'n companies

The Screen Actors Guild’s ruling body has loosened a 1968 rule barring actors who are also producers from seeking union office and sitting on its national board.

SAG’s national board unveiled the change in the current edition of its Hollywood Call Sheet newsletter.

The easing of language is designed to make it easier for high-profile SAG members to become involved in government of the union, which has 97,000 members. The change will open up key SAG posts to the actors who operate their own production companies, as long as acting is their primary occupation.

The board recently amended the “conflict of interest” section in SAG’s constitution to conform more to the intent of the 1946 rule, which was far less exclusionary and enacted at a time when SAG members were moving into employer posts.

That provision forced Robert Montgomery to resign as SAG president. In 1960, Ronald Reagan was required to resign his SAG presidency for the same reason.

The 1946 rule barred SAG members who have “primarily and continually the interest of the employer” from serving on the national board and committees. The language was toughened 21 years later with the ban extending to SAG members with any production interest.

SAG said the amended language, which is being finalized by its outside counsel, provides for potential candidates to make the initial determination if they are qualified to serve. If that candidacy is challenged, the national board will hold a hearing to determine if the candidate is qualified.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more