SHANG-CHI Actor Simu Liu On Why He Supports The SAG-AFTRA Strike; WGA And AMPTP Remain Far Apart

SHANG-CHI Actor Simu Liu On Why He Supports The SAG-AFTRA Strike; WGA And AMPTP Remain Far Apart SHANG-CHI Actor Simu Liu On Why He Supports The SAG-AFTRA Strike; WGA And AMPTP Remain Far Apart

Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu marched on the SAG-AFTRA picket lines and shared his thoughts on the ongoing strike as details from Friday's WGA and AMPTP begin to surface.

By MarkJulian - Aug 05, 2023 08:08 PM EST
Filed Under: Shang-Chi
Source: Deadline

Marvel Studios Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu recently hit the picket lines outside Amazon, where Deadline Hollywood asked the MCU star about his thoughts on the ongoing strike.

Recently, more and more actors have emerged to voice their displeasure with the strike or proclaim that they view themselves as a neutral party, however, don't count Liu among their number.

"I'm striking because I've been there. I've spent time as a background actor. I've spent time in that gig economy- the endless gig to gig, not knowing when your next paycheck is going to come [and] not qualifying for healthcare. It's a really rough spot to be in."

"What the AMPTP is suggesting is that the livelihood of these working-class actors is lowered even more with new guidelines around artificial intelligence and new guidelines around replication. I remember, not just myself, but all the background actors and performers that I knew, whose livelihood depended upon the ability to go in to work [those days] really haven't been that long [ago] for me."

"To be in this privileged position now, I think there's a real responsibility to stand in solidarity with each and every member of SAG."

Elsewhere, the AMPTP and WGA recently met on Friday in an effort to end the writer's strike which is rapidly approaching 100 days.  Not much headway was made on the negotiation front, as the WGA and AMPTP appear to be deadlocked on the issue of "minimum staffing levels in episodic TV and a guaranteed minimum number of weeks of employment," per Variety.  

The WGA also broached the subject of extending health care benefits to striking writers, who may fail to meet the minimum earnings threshold to qualify as a result of the strike.  Under the current agreement, 50% of guild member health benefits are paid by the WGA, while the studios within the AMPTP finance the other 50%. 

Variety also reported that WGA representatives indicated that even if a deal is reached with the AMPTP, they will likely remain on strike until a deal is also reached with SAG-AFTRA.  As you can guess, this did not go over well with the AMPTP.

The lone positive takeaway is that both sides agreed that they expect to meet again in the coming week, as opposed to the 90+ days that elapsed before yesterday's meeting. 

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bobevanz - 8/5/2023, 8:07 PM
I'm fine with this whole situation. Let the suits sweat it out, bunch of clowns who know nothing yet will never admit their wrong. This means we'll get more classic movies in theaters if this lasts more than a year. Yes please! I got to see so many classic movies during covid that I was never able to see because of their release date. [frick] the corporate suits, trickle down these nuts
TheLobster - 8/5/2023, 8:53 PM
@bobevanz - amen
Origame - 8/5/2023, 8:10 PM
Ok, I can buy this stance from simu. The AI situation with specifically the background actor has been like the only point I agree with on the strike, and it is an important one.

And glad there's that selfless nature to it compared to other strikers, and is more civil than when he exploded against Tarantino.
Nightwing1015 - 8/5/2023, 8:43 PM
@Origame - if anything I thought it would be the opposite. I buy the AI thing with writers and actors more than extras who do nothing but walk around aimlessly in the background doing nothing.
AmazingFILMporg - 8/5/2023, 8:56 PM
@Origame -

How about residuals?

It's not fair that if a studio sells let's say avengers to air on TNT or TBS and pay out residuals but then the studio sells avengers to Netflix for 100 million and the writers, actors, director get nothing? Come on💁
Origame - 8/5/2023, 8:58 PM
@AmazingFILMporg - only problem is, they are being paid. Residuals just simply aren't as reliable for continuous profit on a site anyone can watch at any time versus a scheduled program on tv.
Origame - 8/5/2023, 9:01 PM
@Nightwing1015 - well for writers and actors it's simply not there yet. For example, the biggest use of it for writing is with ubisoft for npc dialog.

But for a bunch of extras it can be pretty easy to use ai to replicate some people for the background. And it can save the studios hundreds of thousands of dollars from not hiring all those people.
AmazingFILMporg - 8/5/2023, 9:39 PM
@Origame -

That's the thing. When they get a big payout from Netflix they should cut a one-time check to the creatives💁.
Origame - 8/5/2023, 9:46 PM
@AmazingFILMporg - ...they do. That's the base pay. Residuals are entirely dependent on the views of the show.

They've even commented over this that residuals are an issue of the strike because they rely on the continuous income between jobs.

This is what I mean about all of this. You guys on this site get so opinionated about the strike, yet you have no idea what they're fighting for and why.
Nightwing1015 - 8/5/2023, 9:58 PM
@Origame - I don’t think actors and writers actually think the tech is there yet to replace them - the whole point is it’s a preemptive strike against that risk
Origame - 8/5/2023, 10:07 PM
@Nightwing1015 - kinda. But the studios did already agree to not use it, and just want to open up for future negotiations as the tech improves.

But the big issue now is with background extras. That tech is there, it's been used, and they're scanning people for use in future projects they won't be paid for beyond the one day.
mountainman - 8/5/2023, 10:21 PM
@Nightwing1015 - People should own their likeness. It’s one thing if AI or CGI creates fake people, it’s a completely separate issue if they use the likeness of a specific person.

The writer thing I’m a bit more iffy on. Let’s say AI can write a better script than a human can. Then isn’t it hurting the end product and the consumer to not use it?
mountainman - 8/5/2023, 10:23 PM
@Origame - Residuals for streaming are different than residuals on network television. On TV, there are commercials run on the programs aired a second time. But streaming services have a different revenue model.

The only way I see this resolved for streamers is either price increases for the consumer, which will result in fewer subscribers, or a model where commercials are added.

The steaming thing was good while it lasted but I predict that it won’t be a viable model in the future.
Origame - 8/5/2023, 10:37 PM
@mountainman - it has nothing to do with commercials, though. Because the subscribers make up for that by paying themselves.

No, the real issue is it being available whenever. Once it's online you can watch it whenever. Which will get it's highest numbers for those first few days.

But after that and the crowd excited for it have their fill, then the numbers are gonna keep falling off.

But on a scheduled program, the drop off after every showing is gonna be lower, since they can't just choose when to watch or rewatch. And it's easier to get steady pay from that.
mountainman - 8/5/2023, 11:03 PM
@Origame - I understand that the Subscription revenue is constant, but older stuff being watched is less of a reason people are subscribed than newer stuff is.

And like I said, the streamers could break it down to a watch = x amount of $. Quite possibly that would result in the talent getting paid more. But it would also likely result in costs going up for consumers or older content being pulled down more frequently.
Nightwing1015 - 8/5/2023, 11:30 PM
@mountainman - People don't own their own likeness tho - actors sell it to the studio all the time. The likeness of actors is already used in a way in which they don't necessarily want it to be

And yeah I agree on AI writers.
Origame - 8/5/2023, 11:30 PM
@mountainman - yeah, but it's the newer stuff we're talking about.

In the end of the day all shows will lose interest from people. But scheduled television is designed to delay that by making it so it's not on demand and that sense of fomo.

And they do the "x views = y money" thing. The problem is those views go down quickly so its not a continuous source of reliable money.

My guess is studios might start releasing streaming series on tv.
AC1 - 8/6/2023, 3:49 AM
@Nightwing1015 - Extras don't "do nothing but walk around aimlessly in the background doing nothing"
Nightwing1015 - 8/6/2023, 9:55 AM
@AC1 - Fair but they also don't do anything special or eye-catching 99% of the time. If a computer can do the job just as well then it's not exactly a crime against human creativity that they are replaced. Extras have been digitally created in films since the 70s.
AC1 - 8/6/2023, 7:01 PM
@Nightwing1015 - being an extra is an important first step into the industry for a lot of people, it's understandable digitally creating them for VFX heavy sequences or in scenes where it'd be impractical or possibly even dangerous to have the amount of people on set needed to create a specific shot (like how the armies were digitally created in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) but they should be people whenever possible
Nightwing1015 - 8/6/2023, 7:18 PM
@AC1 - "being an extra is an important first step into the industry for a lot of people"

No reason it has to be. If extras were all digital, up-and-coming actors can just go straight into acting and not waste time as pointless window dressing. Will save the production money in the long run anyway meaning even more projects can be financed and even more actors can get work.
AC1 - 8/7/2023, 5:33 AM
@Nightwing1015 - Yeah that's not how it works, it's notoriously difficult to get in any other way. You can't just walk into an audition for a part and even getting representation from an agency is incredibly difficult unless you've already got some sort of experience - at least, in the UK, I'm not sure if it's different in the US but considering how much bigger the industry is out there I can't imagine that it's easier to get in.
FireandBlood - 8/5/2023, 8:13 PM
Toonstrack - 8/6/2023, 9:50 AM
@PlusUltra - Finally someone who actually understood this quote.
TheLobster - 8/5/2023, 8:54 PM
Simu gets it. Good on him.
DarthOmega - 8/5/2023, 8:57 PM
Gotta be honest. I respect that. It's hot af out there too. Also how does Simu look younger somehow?
SuperiorHeckler - 8/5/2023, 9:24 PM
But the much, much bigger question.... Would he be willing to autograph a MARVEL comic-book of "Master of Kung Fu" in return for ending the strike??? 🤔
TyrantBossMedia - 8/5/2023, 9:34 PM
As much as I love movies I really have been disappointing with the quality of the films lately, especially after Covid.

Even most of the shows are crap. I am watching Invasion on Apple TV+ and it is so poorly structured and the character development is lacking.

Hollywood studio heads should say screw off to the actors and writers and bring in independent, young, inventive film makers to do a bunch of lower budget indies exclusively for streaming. Bring back the era of Lucas, Coppola, Spielberg, De Palma and let the young filmmakers really show their stuff.

asherman93 - 8/6/2023, 12:31 AM
@TyrantBossMedia - Those "independent, young, inventive film makers" have every reason to strike alongside the SAG and WGA.
They know the studios would churn them out and replace them with AI if they got the chance... Especially given that's one of the biggest concerns raised by those striking.
TyrantBossMedia - 8/6/2023, 12:32 AM
@asherman93 - AI is not going to replace humans, but if they keep writing as bad as they do then perhaps they should bring in some AI.
SonOfAGif - 8/5/2023, 9:51 PM
It always breaks my heart when you have working folks begging for Healthcare. Why is it such a debatable and divisive topic when it comes to people wanting better healthcare or actual healthcare? And then employers will argue why they don't want to give healthcare on top of not paying their workforce enough to afford private healthcare.
EnergyVamp - 8/5/2023, 10:16 PM
Simu Liu just seems so fake and slimey but good for him for striking with everyone else even if he is a Hollywood pick-me.
cheeseburger - 8/5/2023, 11:56 PM
@EnergyVamp - what’s a matter? Smart articulate charming people get under your skin
EnergyVamp - 8/6/2023, 2:25 AM
@cheeseburger - I know folks who know him in Canada. His leaked reddit posts is just the beginning of the type of person I've heard he is in real life.
Toonstrack - 8/6/2023, 9:51 AM
@EnergyVamp - his leaked reddit posts were totally benign anyway lol
EnergyVamp - 8/6/2023, 12:38 PM
@Toonstrack - Yeah i'll believe the people who actually know him then his internet fangirls. Thank you very much.
Toonstrack - 8/6/2023, 2:34 PM
@EnergyVamp - yeah I'm sure they "know" him, random internet person. I'm sure they can recount his entire childhood lol.

All I said was his reddit posts were benign. If that makes me a fangirl then that makes you someone who probably is already wanting to hate him for some reason.
EnergyVamp - 8/6/2023, 4:39 PM
@Toonstrack - I didnt mean to trigger you. sorry.
Forthas - 8/5/2023, 11:05 PM

"WGA And AMPTP Remain Far Apart"

Reginator - 8/6/2023, 12:19 AM
Jobs have been rendered obsolete since the Industrial Revolution started. Progress has got to the point that even actors and writers will be replaced by automation. Learn to do something else for a living just like all of those that have been replaced in the past.
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