George R R Martin forecasts Hollywood strike to be ‘long and bitter’

George R R Martin said that he has been through several WGA strikes since he joined in 1986 (Liam McBurney/PA)
George R R Martin said that he has been through several WGA strikes since he joined in 1986 (Liam McBurney/PA)

Game Of Thrones writer George R R Martin has weighed in on the US writers and actors strike which has caused an industry-wide shutdown.

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra) announced a strike on July 13 after it failed to reach an agreement on a number of issues, including pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the major film studios, TV networks and streaming giants.

Hollywood stars were among the 160,000 actors on strike, joining the 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who walked out on May 2.

Hollywood Strikes
US comedian Marc Maron walks on a Sag-Aftra picket line outside Netflix studios (Chris Pizzello/AP/PA)

American novelist Martin said he has a “bad feeling” the WGA strike will be “long and bitter”.

In his latest blog post, the 74-year-old wrote: “They (AMPTP) gave the actors no choice but to walk.

“As for the writers… well, the studios are not even talking to us. All negotiations between AMPTP and the WGA shut down back in May when the strike started. It is hard to reach any agreement when the other side won’t even come to the table.

“I joined the WGA in 1986 and have been through several strikes with them. We made gains in all of them, but some issues are more important than others… and this year’s strike is the most important of my lifetime.

“…No one can be certain where we go from here, but I have a bad feeling that this strike will be long and bitter. It may get as bad as the infamous 1985 strike, though I hope not.”

George R R Martin
George R R Martin said he has been on several pickets in New Mexico (Liam McBurney/PA)

The writer, who said he had been on several pickets in New Mexico supporting the strikes, revealed his “overall deal” with HBO was suspended on June 1.

He also gave an update on the second series of House Of The Dragon (HOTD) series, which will see the return of Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy and Paddy Considine in their starring roles.

Martin wrote: “One of the few shows still shooting is House Of The Dragon…I am told the second season is half done. All of the scripts had been finished months before the WGA strike began.

“No writing has been done since, to the best of my knowledge. HOTD is shot mostly in London (and a little bit in Wales, Spain, and various other locations), which is why filming has continued.

“The actors are members of the British union, Equity, not Sag-Aftra and though Equity strongly supports their American cousins… British law forbids them from staging a sympathy strike. If they walk, they have no protection against being fired for breach of contract, or even sued.”

Martin said he considers himself “one of the lucky ones” as he continues to work on projects such as the stage adaption of The Iron Throne which he has been working on for the “past few years”.

“The scripts for that one are coming along well, and it’s got me very excited. Sag-Aftra covers television and film, but not the stage, so the strike has no impact there. Maybe we will even be able to bring the show to the West End by… well, no, better not say, do not want to jinx the project,” he said.

He ended the blog post with the hope the strikes get settled quickly “before we all lose our houses”.