Actor Adam Driver takes on Netflix, Amazon over strike inaction

VENICE (Reuters): U.S. actor Adam Driver, in Venice to promote his new film “Ferrari”, criticised streaming services Netflix and Amazon for not giving into demands by actors’ and writers’ unions in a strike that has hobbled the entertainment industry.

The actors and writers are striking simultaneously for the first time in 63 years, demanding curbs on the use of artificial intelligence and higher pay as streaming becomes prevalent.

The stoppage has prevented A-listers from promoting big studio and streamer movies at this year’s Venice Film Festival in accordance with union guidance, but the stars of small independent pictures, such as “Ferrari”, have been given a pass to hit the famed Lido red carpet.

“Why is it that a smaller distribution company like Neon, like STX International can meet the dream demands of what SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) is asking for … but a big company like Netflix and Amazon can’t?” Driver told reporters.

Representatives for Netflix and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Driver has been closely associated with Netflix in the past, representing two of their films in previous Venice festivals – “White Noise” in 2022 and “Marriage Story” in 2019.

Writers have been on strike since May while actors walked off the job in July.

The dual stoppages have shut down both television and movie productions in Hollywood, but some projects that have no affiliation to the big studios are receiving waivers to keep on working if they comply with the most recent union demands.

“Every time people from SAG go and support a movie that has agreed to these terms, the interim agreement, it just makes it more obvious that these people are willing to support the people that they collaborate with and the others are not,” said Driver.

Michael Mann, who directed “Ferrari”, told reporters that he managed to complete the movie thanks to sacrifices made by some of the actors, producers and himself.

“People who worked on ‘Ferrari’ made it by forgoing large percentages of their salaries, in the case of Adam and myself. The producers … basically worked for no fees,” Mann said.

“No big studio wrote us a check. And that’s why we’re here, standing in solidarity with both unions.”