Labour disputes have ignited a surge of creativity among Hollywood’s finest as they take to the picket lines in solidarity. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, initiated in May, has been followed by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strike in July. Both unions are advocating for equitable contracts and safeguarding against the impact of new artificial intelligence technology in their negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Away from the glitz and glamour of the industry, WGA and SAG-AFTRA members are channeling their creative energies into crafting picket signs that ingeniously reference their past work while demanding their labor rights. The signs carry messages that reflect the spirit of their characters and the significance of their performances. Let’s take a closer look at some of the standout moments from the picket lines:
1. The Parks and Recreation Cast Reunites with Wit and Humour
The beloved cast of “Parks and Recreation” made a powerful appearance during the strike, blending clever references from their show with pointed critiques of the AMPTP. Aubrey Plaza carried a sign suggesting that her character Ann Perkins worked for the AMPTP, poking fun at her on-screen nemesis. Retta’s sign showcased her character’s memorable gesture of selling a cherished possession to support herself, humorously tied to the fight for better contracts.
2. Jon Hamm’s Clever Quote from Mad Men
Jon Hamm, known for his role as Don Draper in “Mad Men,” brought his character’s sharp wit to the picket lines. His sign, emblazoned with the quote “That’s what the money is for,” echoed a memorable line from the show. The reference was a nod to the character’s business acumen and underscored the actors’ demands for better compensation.
3. Nostalgic References from Seth Green and Ben McKenzie
Seth Green paid homage to his character from “Family Guy,” using a comparison to an animated monkey to highlight the perceived malevolence of the AMPTP. Ben McKenzie, who portrayed Ryan Atwood on “The O.C.,” used the show’s iconic line “Welcome to the O.C., b—-” to cleverly address the network’s stance on creativity in his sign.
4. Billy Crystal Channels “When Harry Met Sally…”
Billy Crystal infused his picket sign with a touch of classic romance by referencing a famous line from “When Harry Met Sally…”: “We’ll have what they’re having.” This witty nod to the film’s memorable scene added charm and humor to his advocacy for fair contracts.
5. Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya
Mandy Patinkin paid tribute to his iconic role in “The Princess Bride” by adapting the famous line “You killed my father, prepare to die” into “You killed residuals, prepare to pay!” This sign effectively combined his past character with the current fight for fair compensation.
6. Shay Mitchell’s Support for the Writers of “Pretty Little Liars”
Shay Mitchell, who portrayed Emily Fields on “Pretty Little Liars,” made her stance clear with a sign that stated, “Without writers, there are no secrets!!!” The sign underlined the integral role that writers play in creating the intrigue and suspense of shows like hers.
The picket lines have become a canvas for Hollywood’s stars to merge their acting personas with their commitment to better contracts and the protection of their creative contributions. With a blend of wit, nostalgia, and earnest advocacy, these signs not only demonstrate their solidarity but also capture the essence of the entertainment industry’s ongoing struggle for fair treatment. As these artists use their voices, both on-screen and off, their clever signs remind us that the fight for labor rights is an integral part of Hollywood’s story.