Viola Davis steps back from G20 film as shooting set to begin

Viola Davis
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Despite the production obtaining a waiver to shoot throughout the strike, Viola Davis is stepping away from G20 out of ‘solidarity.’ 

Over the weekend we heard that the Brad Pitt Formula One film is suspending production due to the actors strike. There had been some pretty wild rumours floating around that the film was going to somehow continue shooting, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Another film that may be pausing its production – despite receiving a waiver to begin production – is G20. 

The planned action thriller will see Viola Davis take on the role of the US President in a film where “terrorists overtake the G20 Summit, with American President Taylor Sutton then bringing all her statecraft and military experience to defend her family, her fellow leaders and the world.”

The project had received a waiver from the striking actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, for being a truly independent production operating outside of the studio system. However, there’s been some disagreement as to exactly what this means. G20 is set to be distributed by Amazon Studios, meaning that when the film is released money from the production will be going into studio coffers. Those blurred lines were problematic enough for Davis to step away from the film.

“I love this movie, but I do not feel that it would be appropriate for this production to move forward during the strike,” Davis said in a statement covered by The Hollywood Reporter. “I appreciate that the producers on the project agree with this decision. JuVee Productions and I stand in solidarity with actors, SAG/AFTRA and the WGA.”

The move throws into sharp relief the controversial waiver system being employed by SAG-AFTRA, with some claiming that the process will be detrimental to the strike effort. Actor and comedian Sarah Silverman has been pretty forthright about her opposition to the waivers. “I feel fucking pissed off, and I know I just must not be understanding something,” Silverman stated in a video posted to her social media. “Movie stars are making movies because they’re independent movies, and SAG is allowing it because if they do sell it to streaming, it has to be because streaming is abiding by all the things we’re asking for. That’s just working. The strike ends when they come to the table, and we make a deal in agreement.”

There are currently a long list of productions that have been granted exemptions and clearly seeing some actors working whilst others are on strike will foster some disharmony in the community, especially given that different individuals will have polarised views on whether these exempted films could eventually be financially aiding the very studios they are taking action against.

We’ll bring you more on this as we hear it.

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