SAG-AFTRA, Studios Gain Momentum After Late-Night AI Breakthrough, ‘High Chance’ Deal Imminent

Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers may be nearing an end as both sides have made significant progress in artificial intelligence, which insiders say represents the final hurdle in reaching an agreement to end the strike .

In the early weeks of the strike, studio insiders told TheWrap they were confident reaching an agreement with the Actors Guild on AI protections for actors would be easier compared to other points of contention like streaming compensation.

That’s not the case, however, as a person with knowledge of the SAG-AFTRA side of the talks says the guild’s negotiating committee felt the studios’ offer of AI protection didn’t go far enough after it ended Sunday Midnight had been working on reviewing the updated proposal that AMPTP presented to them last weekend.

SAG-AFTRA sent its response to AMPTP’s full counterproposal back to studios on Monday, setting off another round of negotiations that evening. The two sides will meet again on Tuesday afternoon, with both sides expected to have further exchanges on proposed AI protections.

The insider noted that one issue the guild planned to discuss further this week was actors’ ability to control whether studios can create digital replicas of their likenesses and performances through their estates after their deaths.

Some big-name actors have signed deals with studios for AI recreations. The most prominent recent example is James Earl Jones, who reached an agreement with Lucasfilm that would allow the studio to create AI replicas of his voice for Darth Vader in future Star Wars projects. As AI’s ability to recreate long-dead actors is expected to improve in the future, SAG-AFTRA is expected to push for strict guardrails to protect members from having their wishes regarding digital recreations disregarded.

WWE NXT (Image credit: WWE, The CW)

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