Several Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul castmembers came together on the picket line Tuesday to support fellow striking actors and writers.
“We’re here in solidarity with all of us, with all of our brothers and sisters who are affected by this, and the WGA and SAG,” Bryan Cranston said to a crowd outside Sony Pictures Studios. “We are all the backbone of our business.”
The actor added, “We’re not making them [studios and streamers] the enemy, they’re not villains. These are people we all will be working with once again at some point. We just want them to see reality and fairness and come back to the table and talk to us.”
While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Cranston, who played Walter White on the hit series produced by Sony, said he just wants to see an “equitable contract” so that actors can make a living while working in the industry.
“Something that makes the working actor able to pay their bills, pay their rent, buy food for their families,” he explained. “I mean, it’s really to that point. It’s a watershed moment.”
While there are many important issues for actors surrounding the contract between SAG-AFTRA and studios and streamers, for Cranston, the use of artificial intelligence in Hollywood is one of the key negotiating points.
“This contract will have a sentence in there that states, ‘Actors must be human beings.’ This is mind-boggling, but that’s what it will say, and the same thing with the Writers Guild contract: ‘Must be written by a human being,’” he said. “We’ve never had to imagine that before, but that’s here right now. It’s possible of happening right now and we have to step in and say, ‘You are dehumanizing the workforce and it cannot continue.’”
Jesse Plemons, who played Todd on Breaking Bad, said other than protections against AI, residuals was another topic of importance for him. “I started acting quite a while ago, and that’s how people survive when they’re not working,” he added.
Both the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have been on strike after both unions failed to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The writers took to the picket lines at the beginning of May, and the actors joined them in July.