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Tom Cruise Surprises SAG-AFTRA Negotiations, Advocates for AI and Stunt Professionals

During a recent negotiating session with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a surprise guest appeared to emphasize the importance of addressing concerns related to AI and stunt professionals in the entertainment industry. Tom Cruise, the renowned Hollywood actor, used the platform to urge the AMPTP to carefully consider SAG-AFTRA’s position on these critical matters.

Cruise’s involvement extended beyond the AI issue, as he also expressed strong support for SAG-AFTRA’s stance on protecting and advocating for the rights of stunt performers. Additionally, he shed light on the challenges faced by movie theaters in the post-pandemic era, raising awareness among SAG-AFTRA representatives.

Given Cruise’s stature in the film industry, his participation in the negotiations carried significant weight. The guild recognized the value of his insights, and it’s noteworthy that no other star of his caliber took part in this capacity during the talks.

SAG-AFTRA had presented proposals concerning stunt professionals, aiming to secure better conditions for stunt coordinators and performers, all of whom are represented by the 160,000-strong union. Additionally, they sought to establish stricter guidelines regarding the use of generative AI in entertainment, with a particular focus on ensuring performer consent and fair compensation when their performances are incorporated into AI technology.

Despite Cruise’s involvement, the negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP didn’t lead to a deal before the expiration of the union’s film and television contracts package. Consequently, performers initiated picketing activities and withheld their work, resulting in the disruption and delay of several productions, including Mission: Impossible 8.

Apart from AI and stunt concerns, Cruise reportedly urged SAG-AFTRA to reevaluate their current strike rules, especially regarding actors’ ability to promote films during a strike. He emphasized the significance of promotion for actors, considering the delicate state of movie theaters. However, this request raised discomfort among some present during the discussions, as SAG-AFTRA’s existing strike rules strictly prohibit publicity activities related to struck work or companies.

Although the negotiations didn’t achieve the desired outcome, Tom Cruise’s involvement served as a powerful reminder of the importance of addressing AI-related issues and ensuring the welfare of stunt professionals to SAG-AFTRA.

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