Just as the U.S. actors union announced a strike Thursday due to its inability to ink a new deal with the AMPTP, sources confirmed that production is planned to proceed as scheduled on the second season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel.
The HBO series’ cast is composed of primarily U.K. actors who are working under contracts governed by the local union, Equity. As such, the series is technically allowed to continue filming because Equity members aren’t legally allowed to strike in solidarity with the U.S. union.
Equity shared its actors strike guidance with its 47,000 members on Thursday, shortly before the strike was officially declared by SAG-AFTRA, stating: “Equity U.K. will support SAG-AFTRA and its members by all lawful means.”
“A performer joining the strike (or refusing to cross a picket line) in the U.K. will have no protection against being dismissed or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the engager. Likewise, if Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not cross a picket line, Equity itself will be acting unlawfully and hence liable for damages or an injunction,” Equity said in its guidance to members.
Sources indicate that the U.K.’s strict union laws have prevented an extensive show of solidarity from Equity, which can’t legally call a strike to support SAG-AFTRA due to restrictive British legislation.
Equity posited a number of scenarios under which actors on “House of the Dragon” can continue to work. The guidance for actors who are Equity members but not SAG-AFTRA members who are working in the U.K. on an Equity contract for a U.S. producer is that they continue to work as they have no protection from being dismissed or sued by the producer.
It is the same guidance for SAG-AFTRA members who are not Equity members in a similar production. For SAG-AFTRA members on an Equity contract under Global Rule 1, which states that a SAG-AFTRA member cannot work on any project, anywhere in the world, that is not covered under a SAG-AFTRA agreement, the guidance is again to continue working.
The guidance for more actors in complicated scenarios is to seek advice from SAG-AFTRA.
The London-headquartered org is the 12th largest trade union in the U.K., and represents actors, singers, dancers, designers, directors, stage managers and voice artists, among others. As the profile of British talent has grown in Hollywood over the last decade, so too has Equity’s power.
Based on author George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” book “Fire & Blood,” “House of the Dragon” has been filming its second season at Warner Bros.’ Leavesden Studios since April 11.
Led by showrunner Ryan Condal, the HBO drama series picked up eight primetime Emmy nominations Wednesday. The noms were announced just hours before the clock ran out on SAG-AFTRA’s contract with the AMPTP.
Under strike rules, WGA members working internationally have had to stop work on any project that falls within the union’s jurisdiction if there’s active writing work taking place. As such, a number of U.S. projects filming in the U.K. were affected by the strike. Luckily for HBO, completed scripts on “House of the Dragon” have allowed production to keep going.
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