Universal is hoping the possible SAG-AFTRA strike doesn’t get in the way of the London premiere of “Oppenheimer” on Thursday evening.
Variety has learned the studio is rolling out the red carpet an hour earlier than originally planned — moving from 5:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. local time — with the hope that the 60 minutes will allow the cast, which includes stars like Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh, to pose for photos and participate in interviews without going against SAG-AFTRA strike rules.
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Though the negotiations deadline comes on midnight Wednesday, the SAG-AFTRA board would still have to meet on Thursday to vote and confirm the call for the strike. Universal execs believe such an event may not happen before the premiere takes place.
Of course, that’s a risky bet — the decision to strike could be announced as the carpet is still going on.
A federal mediator was present on Wednesday for negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. If no deal is reached, the board is expected to hold a meeting on Thursday to approve a walkout of its 160,000 performer members.
SAG-AFTRA members would be joining the Writers Guild of America on the picket lines outside major studios and streamers.
SAG-AFTRA agreed to a 12-day extension for contract negotiations on June 30, but has consistently said it would not agree to extending it for a second time.
“Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan and the cast celebrated the world premiere of the film on July 10 in Paris. Universal also asked talent to do interviews and junkets earlier than planned to get publicity and promotional activities done before a potential strike. The studio is also planning an “Oppenheimer” premiere on July 17 in New York City.
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