LOS ANGELES--Now that the contract for the Screen Actors Guild has expired, many in Hollywood are getting nervous that the horror of last winter's writers' strike could shut down Hollywood again.
The subject keeps coming up on press tour. Here to promote a Lifetime network bio of Coco Chanel, Shirley MacLaine came right out and said, "Let's settle this strike. Let's think about other people besides ourselves and our future. Let's think about the state. Let's think about the problems we bring many people who are going to be very, very badly suffering if this strike occurs."
Dennis Hopper, who is co-starring in a series version of the Academy Award-winning movie Crash for the Starz network, said he didn't want to take sides in the labor dispute, because he didn't want "to get between Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks." Hopper says "the unfortunate thing is that out of the 120,000 people that are in Screen Actors Guild, there's only 7,000 that make their living acting and the others have other jobs. So generally, if it comes to strike, they generally strike because they want more benefits, but it's not necessarily great for the industry.
"So I hope it doesn't come to strike. I hope it doesn't come to a vote for strike because I'm afraid that we'll go out on strike."
Don Cheadle, who is an executive producer on the Crash (which debuts Oct. 17 on Starz) and was sitting with Hopper on the panel, suggested actors "gave up the farm" on their last contract, especially in areas like residuals. "I'm fortunate that I work pretty consistently," he says. "But a lot of other people rely on [residuals] to get them from month to month. So they're serious issues for people who are trying to make this their living, as foolish as that is."
Cheadle, like the other two, hopes there is no strike. "I think a great number of people in this city hope that it comes out that way as well. I mean, it's not just the actors that are going to be hurt if this happens, caterers, cleaners, restaurants, valets, everybody, it really takes a big hit."