UPDATED, JULY 3, 8 PM Just one day after SAG-AFTRA put the kibosh on producer Michael Bay’s Songbird, the guild rescinded its Do Not Work order for the feature, produced by On a Lark Productions, LLC. Guild members are now free to work on the production effective immediately.
PREVIOUSLY, JULY 2, 2 PM SAG-AFTRA today put the kibosh on producer Michael Bay’s Songbird, one of the first movies to shoot in Los Angeles during the pandemic. The actors union told its members not to work on the film because it “failed to complete the signatory process and is therefore not signed to any applicable SAG-AFTRA agreement.”
In the past, however, many such Do Not Work orders have been resolved once producers clear up the paperwork with the union.
“We are actively working to resolve this paperwork issue with the guild,” a rep from Invisible Narratives told Deadline.
A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson, however, told Deadline today: “The producers have not been transparent about their safety protocols and that is something we obviously take very seriously. Also, as noted in the Do Not Work order, the producers have not yet become signatory to our agreement. We have no further comment.”
As Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. reported on May 19, Songbird is a pandemic thriller “that plans to take an unusual approach to shooting a movie in Los Angeles during the lockdown…The filmmakers are providing remote training for the actors. None of the participants would say exactly how they plan to shoot a movie at a time when the guilds are still compiling their own safety protocols so that production can resume. I’m told that the filmmakers behind Songbird have screened their plans by the guilds, and they are good to go.” The film is from former Paramount production chief Adam Goodman’s Invisible Narratives, with Bay to produce and Adam Mason to direct.
SAG-AFTRA, in its Do Not Work Order, told members that “On A Lark Productions, LLC, the producer of the picture entitled Songbird, has failed to complete the signatory process and is therefore not signed to any applicable SAG-AFTRA agreement. As such, SAG-AFTRA members are hereby instructed to withhold any acting services or perform any covered work for this production until further notice from the union. Please note, accepting employment or rendering services on Songbird may be considered a violation of Global Rule One. Violating this order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.””
The union’s Global Rule One says that “No member shall render any services or make an agreement to perform services for any employer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the union, which is in full force and effect, in any jurisdiction in which there is a SAG-AFTRA national collective bargaining agreement in place. This provision applies worldwide.”
This is the second time in two weeks that the union has pulled the plug on a movie over COVID-related issues. On June 15, the union issued a Do Not Work order for a movie called Courting Mom & Dad, accusing the producers of having “failed to comply with LA County Health Orders and SAG-AFTRA protocols in connection with COVID-19 as well as California regulations related to minor performers.”
Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report.