John Cusack rails against ‘legendary’ Hollywood greed with as actors’ strike begins

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John Cusack is one of several Hollywood stars speaking out about unfair wages for actors as the performers’ union goes on strike.

On Thursday (13 July), the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra) joined screenwriters in strike action, picketing studios for fairer standards for actors and performers across the industry.

This effectively means a shutdown of Hollywood, with this action marking the first time since 1960 that actors and writers have united against higher executives for more satisfactory working agreements.

Cusack, who began acting in films in the early 1980s, shared his view on the actions of Hollywood executives on social media soon after the strike was announced on Thursday.

In a repost of a video showing Sag-Aftra president Fran Drescher speaking out against the “disgusting” greed of film and TV bosses, the High Fidelity star told an anecdote relating to the hit 1989 teen romcom Say Anything, in which his character wooed his love interest by holding a boombox above his head at her bedroom window.

“The greed is almost a legendary comic trope,” he began his post. “One fun fact – when I was a youngin – I did a film (with a boom box) and somehow I got points – net not gross.

“Never expected to see any money but the film became quite famous – so about 10 years ago I looked again at the financial statements they were obligated to report – and to my shock, they claimed they had LOST 44 million dollars on the film.”

Cusack then went on to point out differences between the amount the film cost to make and release, and how it has reportedly fared in the years since.

John Cusack in “Say Anything...” (Alamy)
John Cusack in “Say Anything...” (Alamy)

“I thought wow, I almost bankrupted Fox! (not really) The film cost about 13 million to make – and money spent to release was minimal at the time. 30 years in – that film lost millions every year! A neat accounting trick don’t ya think?”

The Independent has reached out to Disney, which owns 20th Century Studios, for comment.

The Sag-Aftra strike comprises more than 150,000 television and movie actors, who have all been advised to “withhold labour” until an agreement is reached.

As the action was announced, the cast of the forthcoming Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer walked out of the London premiere in solidarity with colleagues in Hollywood.

“Unfortunately, they’re off to write their picket signs for what we believe to be an imminent strike,” Nolan announced to the cinema’s audience.

You can find live updates on the strike as it develops here.