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Tom Cruise Negotiates With Studios for Stunt Professionals and Use of AI

During the session, the Guild emphasized the necessity for stringent guidelines when utilizing generative AI in entertainment.
UPDATED AUG 24, 2023
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stefania M. D'Alessandro
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stefania M. D'Alessandro

In a show of commitment to SAG-AFTRA's concerns, Hollywood legend Tom Cruise joined the negotiating session online, urging the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to give a fair hearing to the guild's apprehensions regarding the use of AI in the entertainment industry. Additionally, Cruise passionately advocated for supporting SAG-AFTRA's stance on protecting the rights and welfare of stunt performers. During the session, he addressed the delicate state of movie theaters in the post-pandemic landscape, leaving a lasting impact on the negotiations, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Emmanuel Wong
Image Source: Emmanuel Wong/ Getty Images 

"I felt it was crucial to lend my voice to these negotiations and stand united with my fellow performers," remarked Cruise during the Zoom session. SAG-AFTRA occasionally calls in performers during negotiations and Cruise became a stellar example of this practice. "Our industry is evolving rapidly and it's essential that we address the challenges faced by stunt professionals and the potential implications of AI in our craft," he added, underscoring the importance of the issues at hand.

During the negotiations, SAG-AFTRA put forth a series of compelling narratives highlighting the need to protect stunt professionals. "Stunt performers are the backbone of action-packed blockbusters, and we must ensure their safety and proper recognition for their contributions," Cruise stated during the session, echoing the Guild's concerns. Moreover, the Guild emphasized the necessity for stringent guidelines when utilizing generative AI in entertainment. "As AI becomes more prevalent in the industry, we must prioritize consent and fair compensation for performers whose work is ingested into this technology," Cruise emphasized, calling for equitable treatment for artists in the digital age.

Despite Tom Cruise's active involvement and impassioned pleas, the negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP faced challenges and ultimately failed to reach a deal by the contract expiration deadline on July 12, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't find common ground in these discussions, but the fight for our rights continues," Cruise declared, expressing his disappointment at the impasse. Consequently, performers initiated picketing at studio lots and corporate headquarters in New York and Los Angeles on July 14, 2023, leading to work stoppages and delays in productions, including the much-anticipated movie Mission: Impossible 8.


The industry at large responded to Cruise's advocacy, with actors and industry professionals rallying behind SAG-AFTRA's cause. Social media platforms buzzed with messages of support, urging the industry to recognize the legitimate concerns raised by the Guild. Amidst the picketing and discussions, some studios and production companies expressed willingness to re-engage in negotiations, acknowledging the significance of resolving the impasse in a collaborative and respectful manner. 

As SAG-AFTRA members continue their picketing and negotiations with AMPTP, one critical aspect that remains under scrutiny is the Guild's strike rules. These rules govern the conduct of actors during work stoppages and include provisions that restrict actors from engaging in publicity-related activities, such as conventions, interviews, tours, or promotion via social media of any struck work or struck companies. While the rules aim to maintain solidarity and amplify the impact of the strike, Tom Cruise made an appeal for consideration.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Dia Dipasupil
Image Source: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

As the talks continue, it is clear that the spirit of unity and determination exemplified by Tom Cruise has left a profound impact on the industry's collective consciousness. As stakeholders come together to find common ground, they must remember that the art of storytelling thrives when the voices of all those involved are heard, appreciated, and respected. By prioritizing the rights and welfare of performers, the industry can forge a path that honors its rich history while embracing the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.