Actor GEORGE CLOONEY has pleaded for two rival Hollywood actors unions to put their bitter differences behind them – urging them to provide a united front for the sake of the industry.
The star used his peacemaking skills to call for an end to the bitter wrangling between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
Both unions are currently in crucial contract talks with film and TV studios, which expire on 30 June (08), to prevent another strike like the Writers Guild of America (WAG) walkout, which crippled the industry from November (07) until February (08).
Actors are threatening walkouts at the end of June (08) if talks between the unions and major film studios fail to resolve a dispute over pay and conditions.
But the two unions are currently at loggerheads, after AFTRA, a smaller union, agreed to a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
The SAG dismiss the agreed deal – suggesting it undermines their own contract
– and have called upon heavyweights Jack Nicholson and Ben Stiller to urge members of AFTRA to reject the deal.
To compete with the actors, AFTRA has recruited Tom Hanks to declare support for the deal.
And Clooney has spoken out in a statement issued on Thursday (26Jun08) urging the unions not to pit actors against each other, as it would have a devastating impact on the industry as a whole.
He says, “Rather than pitting artist against artist, maybe we could find a way to get what both unions are looking for.
“Because the one thing you can be sure of is that stories about Jack Nicholson vs. Tom Hanks only strengthens the negotiating power of the AMPTP.”