Star wars: actors' strike divides Hollywood

A dispute over pay has brought the movie business to a standstill, and has pitted celebrities against one another

Jack Nicholson feels betrayed by Tom Hanks; Ben Stiller has fallen out with Sally Field; James Cromwell can't believe what Viggo Mortensen has been saying – and George Clooney wishes everyone could just be friends.

A mooted Hollywood actors' strike, which has already virtually shut down the film industry, is sparking civil war between stars of stage and screen, who are being forced to take sides in an increasingly-bitter conflict between their two rival trade unions.

On one side stands the 70,000-member American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which boasts Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Morgan Fair-child and James Cromwell among its most vociferous supporters. On the other is the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which has been able to mobilise the likes of Jack Nicholson, Joely Fisher, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Sheen and Ben Stiller from its 120,000-strong membership list.

The two organisations have fallen-out in a dispute over contract negotiations with the owners of the major film and television studios. AFTRA has already struck a deal in its pay talks, and is asking members to endorse the agreement next week. But SAG has called for AFTRA members to reject the package.

The dispute went public last week when both unions persuaded supporters to put their names to newspaper adverts criticising their rival organisation. Some of Hollywood's most famous faces are now on opposite sides of a personal and highly charged row.

"To have people at the level of Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson on opposite sides, one versus another, is a deplorable spectacle," Oscar nominee James Cromwell told The Independent on Sunday yesterday. "Two unions going at each other is never a pretty sight. And in a climate in this country which is already profoundly anti-union, it's also dangerous."

AFTRA supporter Cromwell is upset by what he sees as the underhand tactics of the opposition, criticising SAG's leadership for its "politicisation" of the pay negotiations. "You have, for example, Viggo Mort-ensen being persuaded to come out and criticise AFTRA. But h has been misinformed about the nature of our deal."

The row is causing a "virtual strike," as major Hollywood shoots are put on hold to avoid disruption until the threat of industrial action is lifted.

SAG's supporters want to secure rises in so-called "residual" payments for DVD sales and clips of films screened online. Anne-Marie Johnson, an actress and SAG negotiator, said: "In 2000, my mother became very ill. I had to stop work to spend eight months in hospital. And I relied on residuals to pay my bills. That's why these talks matter."

George Clooney is tackling the role of peacemaker. Last week, he released an open letter, urging both unions to settle their differences. "What we can't do is pit artist against artist. Because the one thing you can be sure of is that stories about Jack Nicholson versus Tom Hanks only strengthens the negotiating power of the major studios," it concluded.

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
news
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
life
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
peopleWrestling veteran drifting in and out of consciousness
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Manager - Staffordshire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Manager - Near...

Nursery assistants required for day to day roles in Cambridge

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...

Corporate Communications Manager - London - £60,000

£55000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Corporate Marketing Communications M...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone