Scarlett Johansson Talks Writers Strike at ‘Asteroid City’ Premiere: What Happens ‘Will Forever Change How Revenue Is Determined’

At Tuesday’s New York’s premiere of Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City,” the star-studded cast had plenty to say about Hollywood’s writers strike.

Scarlett Johansson, Adrien Brody, Bryan Cranston and Rupert Friend revealed how they really feel about the face off between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers while walking the beige carpet at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

“Whatever happens moving forward will forever change how revenue is determined,” Johansson told Variety. “It’s a thing that has needed to happen for a long time, that we’ve been talking about for a long time, and it’s finally reached this breaking point. It’s important for all of us creatives to unite and support this massive shift so we can get over to the other side, which we will.”

The WGA called for the strike May 1 after the guild failed to reach an agreement with the AMPTP. SAG-AFTRA began negotiations with the major studios on June 7. A potential actors strike has the potential to wreak havoc on the marketing campaigns for several major film releases — including Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and the franchise relaunch “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” SAG-AFTRA is going into talks looking for regulations on artificial intelligence, a better streaming residual formula and restrictions on self-taped auditions, among other items. The guild’s contract expires on June 30.

“This experience on the Wes Anderson film really taught me how wonderful it is to be around human beings,” said Cranston. “To have a group of people come together both above the line and below the line and work together. To dine together. To get to know each other and still do the work. It was a full, encompassing experience. Right now, at this juncture in our business, AI presents a threat to social interaction and social interaction is often the germ for ideas that become creative content. Go through any studio or network right now. It’s quiet. It’s empty. Six people are in the building. The mood is down. It doesn’t feel active, alive or creative. The less people you have actually involved, literally the less human it becomes. And the less interesting it’s going to become.”

Brody added, “These are very important issues that affect all of us. There is lots of technology, which is a concern and I understand that. We are all here hoping for all the great minds to align and find a resolution that works for everyone.”

Friend agreed with Steven Soderbergh’s recent comments to Variety about the industry being at a “critical juncture.”

“Streaming and everything it brought was an amazing addition to our business,” Friend said. “I think that certain things weren’t addressed (when streaming began) that do need to be expressed now and they are to do with fair recompense for writers. I stand with the writers 100 percent. They are the originators of content and they should be rewarded fairly.”

Last month, Anderson was at the Cannes Film Festival with cast members for the world premiere of “Asteroid City,” which Focus Features will release theatrically on Friday.

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