Hollywood jumped into planning mode Thursday at the news of a tentative agreement between striking actors and the major entertainment companies.
After 118 days of most productions shut down and most stars unable to promote projects, publicists, studios and awards strategists went into hyperdrive plotting out how to best use their newly available talent for what’s left of the year — and awards season.
Just hours after the tentative agreement was announced, “The Marvels” star Iman Vellani was already being offered to press for interviews. The Walt Disney Co. movie, which cost over $200 million to produce, opens this weekend with showtimes starting as early as Thursday afternoon. Searchlight Pictures also started actively planning things for Michael Fassbender, who stars in Taika Waititi’s “Next Goal Wins,” out next week.
One of the top priorities for the industry is getting actors back on set, whether for major blockbusters like “Gladiator 2” or “Deadpool 3″ to try to salvage the 2024 movie release calendar that’s already been impacted by the six-month stretch during which writers and actors were striking.
Others were scrambling to kickstart promotion for holiday movie season blockbusters, with Timothée Chalamet now able to talk about “Wonka” and Jason Momoa on the hook for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” Both had been announced as the next two “Saturday Night Live” hosts before the agreement was reached.
Awards season strategists will also be looking at schedules as studios and publicists try to make up for lost time in telling the stories of their Oscar and Emmy hopefuls.
Although the agreement still has to be approved by Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists members, there was widespread relief that the standoff would not continue into 2024. President Joe Biden applauded the agreement, saying that “collective bargaining works.”
“When both sides come to the table to negotiate in earnest they can make businesses stronger and allow workers to secure pay and benefits that help them raise families and retire with dignity,” Biden said Thursday. “SAG-AFTRA members will have the final say on this contract, but the sacrifices they’ve made will ensure a better future for them, their families, and all workers who deserve a fair share of the value they helped create.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the tentative agreement “will benefit our economy statewide and kickstart a new wave of exciting projects.”
He added: “I am thankful that we can now get this iconic industry back to work, not only for our writers and actors, but also the more than two million workers who power our world-class entertainment sector.”
Simu Liu, who co-starred in “Barbie,” wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that he was proud of “SAG for continuing to fight for the livelihood of every actor.”
“As someone who used to live below the poverty line, hauled ass to auditions and struggled to live, I have experienced firsthand how these things matter,” Lui wrote. “Bravo and see you on set!”
Albert Brooks, also on X, wrote that he could finally tell people to watch the documentary about him. His friend Rob Reiner directed “Albert Brooks: Defending My Life,” which premieres Saturday on HBO and Max.
“I can’t wait for you to see it,” Brooks wrote. “Couldn’t say a word until now!!”
Octavia Spencer wrote on Instagram that she’s “ready to work now that the strike is over” and that she was proud to “stand in solidarity with all SAG members over the last 118 days.”
“Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson wrote “we’re very back” in her Instagram. Brunson’s writing team had already been back in the room, but the strike’s suspension clears the way for filming.
Some, like Justine Bateman, were a little more cautious.
“Let’s look at the terms first,” she wrote on X.
The holidays will surely be busy for Hollywood’s top actors, especially awards hopefuls. Several contenders have had interim agreements that have allowed stars to do press, like “Priscilla” and “Ferrari,” but others will be starting fresh with their actors hitting the campaign trail including Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein film “Maestro,” with Carey Mulligan, Venice winner “Poor Things,” with Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, TIFF winner “American Fiction, ” with Jeffrey Wright, Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon,” with Joaquin Phoenix, and “The Color Purple.”
Others are already in theaters or streaming but can now play catch-up too like Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” with Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert DeNiro, Alexander Payne’s “ The Holdovers,” with Paul Giamatti, and “ Nyad,” with Annette Bening and Jodie Foster.