Producers try to make Equity deals quickly

Union in talks with WB, others hope to follow suit

LONDON — Producers are scrambling to negotiate separate deals with British actors’ union Equity after last week’s Dec. 1 strike call for Blighty pics.

With word out that Equity was in talks with Warner Bros. to exempt the sequel to the Harry Potter film, others hope to follow suit.

“A considerable number of producers have phoned to say they understand there are talks with WB, asking if they agree to pay (residuals), can they make their films,” Equity spokesman Martin Brown told Daily Variety. “Of course, we are talking to all of those people.”

Equity issued the instruction to members Sept. 18 after a year of failed negotiations with the U.K. producers association PACT over residual payments.

At present, actors working under U.K. contract receive a one-off payment upfront, which PACT says includes a flat fee for residuals. Equity is calling for actors to get a cut of residuals based on the success of a film.

The lines of communication with PACT are still open, with the two sides in constant communication, Brown said. “No one has broken off talks, but the action still stands, and as far as we know, members are already saying no to work,” he added.

The instruction does not apply to television work.

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