Hollywood strikes having “quite devastating” impact on Czechia productions
Hollywood film and TV productions have been on hold since the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union went on strike in July, two months after a similar move by the Writers Guild of America. Many international productions shoot in Czechia, so the shutdowns are a major concern to the local industry, which has already seen layoffs. I discussed the situation with Jason Pirodsky of The Prague Reporter.
“The impact has been really immediate, and quite devastating. There were three major Hollywood, or international, [TV series] productions shooting in Prague.
“One of those was The Wheel of Time, which has continued to shoot despite the fact that at least a couple of members of the cast are SAG-AFTRA members. So production on that has continued. I’m not sure if it has been affected in some elements, because of the cast members, but they’re continuing to shoot.
“The other two productions are Interview with the Vampire, for AMC, and Foundation, for Apple TV, and within days of the strike being announced both of those productions shut down completely.
“The impact there was in the range of a few thousand people, who went from having a full-time job to, overnight, not having that job.”
What kind of people have been losing their jobs?
“Everyone involved with any elements of production. You see the list of employees in the end credits of a film, and for these productions a lot of these employees are going to be local members of the Czech industry.
“That means anyone involved in production design, in casting, every element of the filmmaking process in terms of a live production being shot – those people are now out of work.
“Because no new projects are able to come and kind of replace those large-scale productions, they’re going to have to trouble finding work in the same industry. And not just in the Czech Republic – the actors’ strike has resulted in shutdowns across the world.”
I’ve seen some people saying the strikes could go on for quite a long time. You follow productions here in Czechia closely – what’s your sense of what the mood is like among professionals in the industry here? Are they very nervous?
“I think yes, absolutely. Unfortunately it’s more than the second time that in recent years that we’ve seen these kinds of shutdowns. We had the same thing with Covid: Overnight, major productions shut down filming in Prague, and it took quite a long time before they could return.
“The kind of optimistic estimates I’ve seen have the actors’ strike being resolved at some time in the next few months. Let’s say this fall, maybe.
“The more pessimistic are for maybe early next year. But I think that the reality of it is that even after that’s resolved it’s still going to take a significant amount of time just for the wheels to start turning and get in motion and for those productions to be able to return.
“I know fans of those TV series probably don’t want to hear it, and people who work on those series probably don’t want to hear it, but it’s probably going to be next spring or next summer at least before these productions can resume filming in Prague.”