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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Breaking Bad cast reunites on picket line in a show of solidarity with Hollywood screen actors and writers

Better Call Saul cast members Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian also join the picket line outside Sony Pictures Studios

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 31.08.23, 10:48 AM
(L-R) Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt and Jesse Plemons at the strike venue

(L-R) Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt and Jesse Plemons at the strike venue Getty Images

The Breaking Bad cast, led by Bryan Cranston, on Tuesday came together to urge Hollywood studios to resume negotiations with striking screen actors.

The cast members joined the picket line outside Sony Pictures Studios, imploring the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to re-engage in talks. “We want them to come back to the table with us. They might find they have a lot in common with us,” Bryan Cranston passionately appealed, flanked by fellow cast members Aaron Paul and Jesse Plemons.

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This reunion aimed to invigorate the picket line, over a month after SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) joined the ongoing strike of Hollywood writers.

The cast of Better Call Saul was also present on the picket lines, with Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian standing alongside series co-creator Peter Gould, who has been on strike with the Writers Guild of America since May.

Cranston explained that Sony Pictures was chosen for the cast's reunion due to its connection with the Breaking Bad franchise, which includes the Emmy-winning series, its prequel Better Call Saul and Netflix film El Camino.

“We are here in solidarity with all our brothers and sisters who are affected by this (strike)...We are looking for an equitable contract. Something that allows working actors to pay their bills, buy food for their families. This is a watershed moment,” Cranston told reporters at the venue.

The actor also made a strong pitch against the use of AI technology. “This contract must have a sentence that will state ‘actors will be human beings’. And the same thing with the writers’ guild contract — ‘It will be written by a human being’. We’ve never imagined that before. But it is possible it might happen right now. And we have to step-in and say, ‘You are dehumanising the workforce’. And it cannot continue,” the actor said.

Jesse Plemons, known for playing Todd in Breaking Bad, stressed the need for change. "The way things were structured 10 years ago made a lot of sense and it made it more possible for journeymen-type actors, actors in the middle that are working just as hard or harder,” he said.

Breaking Bad, an AMC hit series that concluded more than a decade ago, became one of the most-watched cable TV shows in history. While the show continues to enjoy enduring popularity on platforms like Netflix, the cast contends that this success hasn’t translated into fair compensation.

“I don't get a piece from Netflix on Breaking Bad to be totally honest and that's insane to me,” Aaron Paul expressed his frustration. He went on to highlight that streaming services have often evaded equitable compensation practices, and it's time for them to rectify the situation.

Cranston underlined the broader implications of these dual Hollywood strikes. "Without organised labour, management will just keep stuffing their pockets. They don't and will not ever just go, 'You know what? I don't think this is being fair to those people. I'm going to pay them more.' It's just not what they do," he stated, echoing the sentiment shared by SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher.

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