SAG-AFTRA’s imminent strike action has hit its first festival as US actor Matthew Modine withdrew from a Q&A at the world premiere of The Martini Shot at Ireland’s Galway Film Fleadh on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile over in London Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan confirmed prior to the screening at Odeon Luxe that his cast, which includes Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett and Kenneth Branagh, had walked out as a mark of solidarity with the strike.
Earlier in the day, Galway had moved an evening photocall with the cast of The Martini Shot into the afternoon to try to work around the impending strike.
Screen understands that following the announcement of strike action Modine attended the premiere with fellow cast member Fiona Glascott, who is also a SAG member. However they did not participate in the Q&A as part of the premiere, or any advance photos.
Speaking to Screen at the photocall Modine – who also stars in Oppenheimer – said, “Festivals are the lifeblood of the independent film industry. “We’re standing with the strike. It’s important for all the members to stand in solidarity to make sure the producers stand in good faith.”
Modine confirmed he could still take part in a scheduled actors’ masterclass at the festival on Saturday (July 15).
“It affects both large and small,” he said of having to pull out of promoting both
Oppenheimer and The Martini Shot . “Here you have a film of well under $1m budget, and Oppenheimer that is well over a $100m budget. The stakes are higher for Oppenheimer, but it impacts both big and small.”Modine, who ran as a SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate in 2019 and 2021, was supposed to be shooting a Netflix series this summer which has been shut down for several weeks.
“The strike has to go as long as it takes to get a fair deal,” he continued. “Labour unions around the world are now under threat due to the consolidation in wealth. This consolidation of wealth is creating more billionaires and millionaires in areas where there are expanding working classes and a shrinking middle class. That doesn’t bode well for all of humanity around the globe.”
SAG-AFTRA calls strike, picketing to start on Friday