The SAG-AFTRA attack may depend on artificial intelligence; Deep divisions remain between actors and studios in the final hours of talks

EXCLUSIVE: Computers are taking over.

As talks between the actors’ union and the studios boil down to the final days before SAG-AFTRA’s current contract extension expires, artificial intelligence has become a significant obstacle to any deal.

There appears to be no real negotiations here, a SAG-AFTRA member close to the talks tells Deadline about AI’s talks with the AMPTP. Actors see Black mirrorIt’s Joan Is Awful as a documentary from the future, with their likenesses being sold and used however the producers and studios want. The union member is referring to the opening episode of the final season of the Charlie Brooker-created satire starring Salma Hayek and Annie Murphy. We want a solid path. Studies have answered confidently, we don’t.

RELATED: SAG-AFTRA Prepare picket signals as possible strike frames

Much like the WGA strike before it, the 160,000-member union led by Fran Drescher wants heavy assurances and guarantees in terms of the spread, reach and reach of AI in the industry for its members. Having just put a new set of proposals on the negotiating table, the AMPTP allegedly does not want to discuss the potentially game-changing issue in any substantive way, various sources tell me.

The DGA deal is a good basis for discussion, a streamer executive said of the AI ‚Äč‚Äčconsultation deal the guild made with the AMPTP and ratified overwhelmingly last month. This is a city [built] about relationships. Only madmen want to blow it up; they are the ones to stop a deal, he said she.

This is a power grab, pure and simple, said an established plaintiff of the AMPTP’s position on AI. They can’t pretend that we won’t be used digitally or that we won’t become the source of new, cheap, AI-created content for studios.

Aware of the dangers of AI, one insider also sees the emphasis on technology in job interviews as something of a red herring.

What AI does is in these talks is allow the world’s Meryl Streeps and other high-profile union members to focus their attention on the fact of underlying transformative change, he warned. It’s a simple enough concept that people who aren’t normally involved in business relationships can see the whole business model and where the business is going badly. Bad for me, bad for everyone. And it becomes a rallying cry, but the problems run deeper than that.

RELATED: SAG-AFTRA chairman Fran Drescher returns to lead latest effort to land deal after weekend in Italy robbing cameras with pal Kim Kardashian at Dolce & Gabbana show

Originally scheduled to expire at midnight on June 30, the current contract was extended by both parties late last month with less than six hours to go. The contract will now expire at midnight PT on July 12. Overseas for most of last week, and seen posing for photos in Italy with Kim Kardashian (who was rumored to have crossed WGA pickets in New York to american horror story filming), Drescher is expected to return to Los Angeles from Italy tomorrow for the final two days of negotiations for the guild’s film and television deal, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson told Deadline tonight.

Chairs the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee with Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the National Executive Director of Corporations, as lead negotiator on the first Nanny the star will certainly have his work cut out for her.

With divisions over artificial intelligence and issues like residuals running deep in the talks, at this point it seems quite likely that SAG-AFTRA members could be on strike by the morning of July 13th. Under the silence of the media, the negotiations continue. However, over the past week, picket signs have been prepared and volunteer lists have been set up, among other measures put in place in anticipation of a strike.

Union representatives even spoke with some of the city’s public relations people today on a conference call to discuss how a union action would play out.

According to sources, Crabtree-Ireland and other top SAG-AFTRA leaders seemed quite confident on the call that there would be a strike. In this afternoon’s Crabtree-Ireland briefings, Ray Rodriguez, Head of Guild Contracts, and Pam Greenwalt, Head of Communications for SAG-AFTRA, outlined the rules for talent that should wrap up all promotional activities, including meetings with the press, by Friday in the event of a strike, we hear.

Afterwards, the 140 or so publicists on the call were told in no uncertain terms that the actors didn’t have to do any work for any project. To be clear, this tool-down includes recording routine promotional materials like EPKs or attending events like San Diego Comic-Con or the Emmys (whose nominations will be unveiled on the morning of July 12). In the nearly hour-long exchange, SAG-AFTRA leaders said the guild is ready to sanction any members who do not follow the strict guidelines of the strike.

Or, how 2001: A Space Odysseys HAL 9000 said: Sorry to interrupt the festivities, Dave, but I think we have a problem.

Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.

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