Adam Driver as Charlie Barber in Marriage Story

Adam Driver Explains How Indie Studios Prove Big Studios Can Afford To Pay Up

While participating in a press conference for his new film, Ferrari, Adam Driver criticized large studios for refusing to meet the same demands from the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists that indie studios do. The cast of Ferrari was permitted to promote the film due to it being distributed by independent studio Neon. Neon is not part of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that writers and actors are currently striking against, and was one of several indie studios that secured interim agreements with the SAG-AFTRA that allowed them to continue the production or promotion of their films during the strike by agreeing to union terms.

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The SAG-AFTRA strike, alongside the Writers Guild of America strike, has brought much of Hollywood to a halt. Both labor unions are negotiating with the AMPTP to secure actors and writers livable wages, better job security, and protections against artificial intelligence. The AMPTP represents all of the major Hollywood studios, including Amazon, Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony, and Paramount. Many of these are multi-billion dollar companies, meaning that the estimated $429 million that the WGA is asking for between all AMPTP studios would barely make a dent in these studios’ bottom lines.

While the strikes have been ongoing for months, the AMPTP is still refusing the WGA and SAG-AFTRA demands. Studios like Disney have claimed that the demands aren’t “realistic.” However, the numerous indie studios complying with these demands and nabbing interim agreements show that these demands aren’t unrealistic or impossible to meet.

Adam Driver calls out big studios amid SAG-AFTRA strike

@apnewsentertainment

Adam Driver shows his support for the Hollywood strikes at a presser for his latest film “Ferrari” in Venice. #adamdriver #actorsstrike #venicefilmfestival

♬ original sound – AP Entertainment – AP Entertainment

During a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, where Ferrari had its world premiere on August 31, Driver touched on the SAG-AFTRA strike. He started by questioning how small indie distribution companies like Neon and STX can meet the SAG-AFTRA’s demands, but enormous studios like Amazon and Netflix supposedly can’t. After all, this is exactly why Ferrari was permitted to enjoy promotion and publicity—because it adhered to the pre-negotiation demands of SAG-AFTRA. Since these are pre-negotiation demands, they’re really like the “dream version of SAG’s wishlist.”

Meanwhile, when films like Ferrari meet these demands, members of SAG-AFTRA respond by supporting them. It’s a good representation of collaboration and how SAG-AFTRA is willing to work with people who are willing to work with them. In this way, Driver emphasized that his appearance at Ferrari’s premiere was an act of solidarity with the SAG-AFTRA strike by supporting a non-AMPTP film that respects the SAG-AFTRA demands.

Indie studios are much smaller than studios like Amazon and Netflix. They operate outside the major film studio system and typically have smaller budgets, fewer resources, and less financial backing. Yet, the hundreds of interim agreements that have been granted show that countless indie studios have no issue complying with the terms of the SAG-AFTRA. If these small studios can adhere to the demands, it proves that SAG-AFTRA’s demands are reasonable and could easily be met by larger studios with deeper pockets. It highlights that the major reason AMPTP isn’t ending the strike is simply that it doesn’t want to meet these demands, rather than an inability to meet them.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.