Lead “Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in the Emmy-award-winning series, expressed some of the concerns that led to a work stoppage in the first place. One issue he called out specifically was the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
“We’re here in solidarity with all of us, with all of our brothers and sisters who are affected by this, and the WGA and SAG,” Cranston told the gathered crowd outside Sony Pictures Studios, per The Hollywood Reporter. “We are all the backbone of our business.”
He continued, “We’re not making them [studios and streamers] the enemy, they’re not villains. These are people we all will be working with once again at some point. We just want them to see reality and fairness and come back to the table and talk to us.”
The #BreakingBad team @BryanCranston, @AaronPaul_8, @Betsy_Brandt, @PeterGould Jesse Plemons and more come together to picket outside the Sony lot for the #ActorsStrike and #WritersStrike pic.twitter.com/iggjIwmPTY
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 29, 2023
The 67-year-old actor told THR that he is hoping for an “equitable contract” for talent to earn a guaranteed living wage.
“Something that makes the working actor able to pay their bills, pay their rent, buy food for their families,” Cranston told the outlet. “I mean, it’s really to that point. It’s a watershed moment.”
The “Breaking Bad” alum also came down hard on the use of AI.
“This contract will have a sentence in there that states, ‘Actors must be human beings.’ This is mind-boggling, but that’s what it will say, and the same thing with the Writers Guild contract: ‘Must be written by a human being,’” Cranston said.
“We’ve never had to imagine that before but that’s here right now. It’s possible of happening right now and we have to step in and say, ‘You are dehumanizing the workforce and it cannot continue.’”
Former Breaking Bad actors Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, Jesse Plemons, and writer Peter Gould joined Cranston on the picket line.
Plemons, who played Todd Alquist in the series, spoke up on the issue of residual payments for actors, another key item in the contract negotiations. “I started acting quite a while ago and that’s how people survive when they’re not working,” Plemons said.
WGA representatives met with studio executives last week but failed to make any progress toward coming to an agreement. They expressed disgust that the execs shared contract details with the public, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
“This was the companies’ plan from the beginning – not to bargain, but to jam us,” the reps said at the time. “It is their only strategy – to bet that we will turn on each other.”
The WGA has been on strike since May 2, while the SAG-AFTRA strike began on July 14. This is the first dual strike since 1960.