A sturdy cross-section of topline Hollywood talent from Tom Hanks to George Clooney to René Auberjonois today urged SAG leadership to back down from its '09 strike threat. Maybe even more noteworthy: Who's missing?
The letter echoes the more moderate tack previously taken by Clooney and others, with 130 signatories suggesting that continued negotiation and — sooner than later — a settlement with the studios would be preferable to nudging the film industry into a fiery, recession-era cataclysm:
We feel very strongly that SAG members should not vote to authorize a strike at this time. We don't think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool. It must be looked at as what it is — an agreement to strike if negotiations fail.
We support our union and we support the issues we're fighting for, but we do not believe in all good conscience that now is the time to be putting people out of work.
None of our friends in the other unions are truly happy with the deals they made in their negotiations. Three years from now all the union contracts will be up again at roughly the same time. At that point if we plan and work together with our sister unions we will have incredible leverage.
As hard as it may be to wait those three years under an imperfect agreement, we believe this is what we must do. We think that a public statement should be made by SAG recognizing that although this is not a deal we want, it is simply not a time when our union wants to have any part in creating more economic hardship while so many people are already suffering.
Endorsees include Hanks, Clooney and fellow A-listers Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Diane Keaton, Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey — and none of the notorious Olive Garden Star Chamber (including Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep and Warren Beatty) who've been rumored to support the strike-authorization movement. A few other notable absences include Ben Affleck (whose wife Jennifer Garner and BFF Matt Damon both signed), Hanks's spouse Rita Wilson, and Michael Douglas, who is probably just worried that he'll never get his residuals if he rocks the boat. We'd probably play it the same way, even if it meant not aligning ourselves with the likes of Bruce Boxleitner.
Anyway, the tribal warfare is on! Call your shots below.