‘Better Call Saul’ Actor Urges Colleagues To Stay On Strike, Not To Ask For Exemptions: ‘Do The Hard Thing’

Bob Odenkirk
VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images

“Better Call Saul” actor Bob Odenkirk is urging actors to continue the strike and not to ask for exemptions to continue working.

Both the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are currently on strike, which has effectively shut down any work on Hollywood productions until an agreement can be reached. Now, mainstream actors are coming out in support of the work stoppage and joining other union members on the picket line. 

But some projects were granted waivers to resume filming without violating the terms of the strike. Because these specific productions are not affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), they aren’t connected with the studios and streaming companies that SAG-AFTRA is targeting, per Entertainment Weekly

Odenkirk doesn’t think the actors should use ask for waivers, however. 

“It’s a strike. Be on strike,” Odenkirk told The Wrap during a video interview from the picket line. “You lose. We lose. Everybody loses. That’s tough sh**”

Those films with approved waivers feature actors such as Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Rebel Wilson, Paul Rudd, Jenna Ortega, and Mads Mikkelsen, the publication noted.

Besides working on upcoming projects, there are also requests to allow actors to promote films already completed and in theaters or about to be released. Tom Cruise supports these exemptions, but Odenkirk and others insist that union members on strike should not promote their projects.

“We all are in this together,” “The Mindy Project” actor Ike Barinholtz said. “And if some of us are starting new projects and promoting others, that’s gonna cause dissension. We need the opposite. We need solidarity.”

“Sometimes you have to do the hard thing,” Odenkirk said.

Studios have been forced to cancel upcoming events due to the encompassing nature of the strike and the unwillingness of union members to use existing exemptions. The cast of Christopher Nolan’s new film “Oppenheimer” walked out of the premiere event in the U.K. last week when the SAG-AFTRA strike became official.


One production which was granted an exemption was the faith-based TV series, “The Chosen.” 

“Great news! We just received word from SAG that we have been approved for a waiver. We’ll continue shooting on Monday,” series creator and director Dallas Jenkins said in a Wednesday statement. 

“We’ve worked hard to accommodate all of SAG’s requests and their interim agreement,” Jenkins continued. “We appreciate their recognition of us as an independent as well as their hard work in this process.”

Jenkins noted that the series is entirely funded by donations, making it a standout among other Hollywood productions. 

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