'Breaking Bad' stars reunite on picket line to call for studios to resume negotiations with actors
Rhea Seehorn, from left, Matt Jones, Bryan Cranston, writer Peter Gould and Betsy Brandt, from the acting and writing team of "Breaking Bad," speak on a picket line outside Sony Pictures studios on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Culver City, Calif. The film and television industries remain paralyzed by Hollywood's dual actors and screenwriters strikes. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Krysta Fauria, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, August 30, 2023 7:10AM EDT
CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) — The cast of “Breaking Bad” has reunited to call upon Hollywood studios to resume negotiations with striking screen actors.
“We want you to come back to the table with us,” Bryan Cranston said in a plea to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers outside Sony Pictures Studios on Tuesday.
Cranston was joined by Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons and other members of the “Breaking Bad” universe in an effort to energize picket lines more than a month after SAG-AFTRA joined striking Hollywood writers.
Both guilds are seeking to address issues brought about by the dominance of streaming services, which have changed all aspects of production and pay in the industry.
“The way things were structured 10 years ago made a lot of sense and it made it more possible for journeymen-type actors, actors in the middle that are working just as a hard or harder,” Plemons said.
By its final season, which aired more than a decade ago, “Breaking Bad” was one of the most watched and highest rated cable TV shows ever.
The AMC hit series has achieved enduring popularity on Netflix, but its stars say that has not been reflected in their pay.
“I don’t get a piece from Netflix on ‘Breaking Bad’ to be totally honest and that’s insane to me,” Paul said. “I think a lot of these streamers know that they have been getting away with not paying people a fair wage and now it’s time to pony up.”
Cranston said they chose Sony for their reunion as the studio behind the Emmy-winning hit, along with its spinoff projects, the AMC prequel series “Better Call Saul” and the Netflix film, “El Camino.”
“We’re not making them the enemy. They are not villains. These are people that we all will be working with once again at some point,” Cranston said. “We just want them to see reality.”
Several other casts have joined picket lines during the strike, including actors from “Parks and Recreation” and the cult hit “Jury Duty," drawing a link between popular shows and the actors' strike goals.
Cranston also affirmed SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher’s recent comments to The Associated Press that these dual Hollywood strikes are galvanizing a broader movement throughout the country.
“Without organized labor, management will just keep stuffing their pockets. They don’t and will not ever just go, ‘You know what? I don’t think this is being fair to those people. I’m going to pay them more.’ It’s just not what they do,” he said.
Cast members of “Better Call Saul” were also on the picket lines, including Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian, along with the series co-creator, Peter Gould, who has been on strike with the Writers Guild of America since May.