Tv & Film

House of the Dragon' Continues Filming in U.K. Despite SAG-AFTRA Strike, Thanks to Local Union Rules

House of the Dragon' Continues Filming in U.K. Despite SAG-AFTRA Strike, Thanks to Local Union Rules
Published 1 years ago on Jul 13, 2023

As the American actors' union declared a strike due to the unresolved negotiation with the AMPTP, sources have confirmed that production on the second season of the "Game of Thrones" prequel will proceed as planned. Notably, the majority of the HBO series' cast consists of U.K. actors who operate under contracts governed by the local union, Equity. Consequently, the show is legally permitted to continue filming because Equity members are prohibited from striking in solidarity with the U.S. union.

Shortly before SAG-AFTRA officially announced the strike, Equity shared its actors' strike guidelines with its 47,000 members, expressing its support for SAG-AFTRA and its members through lawful means.

Equity's guidance to its members stated, "A performer joining the strike (or refusing to cross a picket line) in the U.K. will have no protection against being dismissed or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the engager. Likewise, if Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not cross a picket line, Equity itself will be acting unlawfully and hence liable for damages or an injunction."

Sources reveal that the stringent union laws in the U.K. have prevented Equity from staging a robust show of solidarity, as the union is legally unable to call for a strike to support SAG-AFTRA due to restrictive British legislation.

Equity has outlined various scenarios in which actors on "House of the Dragon" can continue working. For Equity members who are not members of SAG-AFTRA and are working in the U.K. under an Equity contract for a U.S. producer, the guidance is to continue working, as they lack protection against dismissal or lawsuits. The same advice applies to SAG-AFTRA members who are not Equity members involved in a similar production. In the case of SAG-AFTRA members on an Equity contract under Global Rule 1, which states that a SAG-AFTRA member cannot work on any project worldwide that is not covered by a SAG-AFTRA agreement, the guidance is again to continue working.

Equity advises actors in more complex situations to seek advice from SAG-AFTRA.

Equity, headquartered in London, is the twelfth-largest trade union in the U.K. and represents various professionals, including actors, singers, dancers, designers, directors, stage managers, and voice artists. With the increasing prominence of British talent in Hollywood, Equity's influence has grown significantly.

Based on George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" book "Fire & Blood," "House of the Dragon" has been filming its second season at Warner Bros.' Leavesden Studios since April 11. Despite the strike, the show's completed scripts have allowed production to continue smoothly.

Led by showrunner Ryan Condal, the HBO drama series recently received eight primetime Emmy nominations. These nominations were announced just hours before the expiration of SAG-AFTRA's contract with the AMPTP.

While strike rules dictate that WGA members must cease work on any project falling under the union's jurisdiction if active writing work is involved, "House of the Dragon" remains unaffected due to its completed scripts. Nonetheless, several U.S. projects filming in the U.K. have experienced repercussions from the strike. Fortunately, HBO has managed to navigate the situation smoothly, ensuring the uninterrupted progress of "House of the Dragon."

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