It’s an unscientific survey of three, but it seems telling about the mood of working thesps regarding the Screen Actors Guild contract stalemate.
Dennis Hopper, Don Cheadle and Shirley MacLaine, when asked during TCA seshes on Friday for their thoughts about situation, none of them raised a fist, literally or figuratively, in support of the guild’s position. Can’t help but notice how markedly different this is to the attitude among scribes last fall.
Hopper got a big laugh during his sesh for the Starz drama “Crash” in noting that taking a side would amount to him having “to get between Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks…and I’d have to side with Jack.” (After all, Hanks wasn’t in “Easy Rider.”)
“I think the unfortunate thing is that in there are 120,000 actors in SAG and only 7,000 make a living acting… I hope it doesn’t come to vote for a strike because I’m afraid that we’ll go out on strike,” Hopper said.
Cheadle, also part of the “Crash” panel, evinced a little more concern about the contract terms at stake but was still way cautious on the strike front.
“Last time we gave up the farm on some things,” Cheadle said of SAG’s previous contract negotiation with the majors. “These residuals, that’s our life blood for actors. I’m fortunate that I work pretty consistently. But a lot of people rely on (residuals) to get them through month to month. I agree with Dennis — I hope we’re able to come to some sort of agreement without calling for a strike. A great number of people in the city hope that it comes out that way as well. It’s not just the actors that are going to be hurt if this happens — caterers, cleaners, restaurants, valets — everybody really takes a big hit,” he said.
MacLaine, who was tubthumping her Lifetime biopic on Coco Chanel, volunteered her thoughts on the situation while answering a loaded question (“what’s wrong with Hollywood?”) from a journo. Her remarks reflected the feeling that in many respects there’s already a de facto strike going on, and she noted its impact on showbiz workers other than actors.
“Let’s settle this strike,” she said. “Let’s think about other people. Let’s think about the problems and the people who will be very, very badly suffering if this strike occurs.”