With the SAG-AFTRA strike underway, which requires members of the union to halt all work on movie productions and promotions, many Hallmark stars are not only showing their support online for the strike, which began on July 14, 2023, but also showing up to picket in front of Hollywood’s biggest entertainment studios. Much like with the ongoing WGA writers’ strike that began on May 2, picket lines have formed in New York and Los Angeles.
Heavy is closely monitoring the stars’ involvement in the strike, which experts say could last weeks or even months, per the Washington Post, and how it’s impacting their work with Hallmark. Here’s what you need to know:
Erin Cahill & Hunter King Among Stars Picketing for SAG-AFTRA Strike
On July 15, 2023, frequent Hallmark actress Erin Cahill shared an Instagram video montage featuring photos of herself and friends picketing in front of FOX studios in Los Angeles. Though she didn’t write a caption, she added the “Rocky” theme song to the video.
On the same day, “Christmas Class Reunion” star Aimee Teagarden joined a picket line with friends outside Amazon Studios, posting a photo in her Instagram Stories. And Evan Williams of “The Way Home” shared photos in his Instagram Stories of himself picketing outside Netflix studios.
On July 18, actress Hunter King, whose most recent Hallmark movie was April’s “The Professional Bridesmaid,” posted a black and white photo in her Instagram Stories of a picket line she was in, and tagged the actresses she was with — her sister Joey King, “Haul Out the Holly” actress Eliza Hayes Maher, and Brianne Tju.
Hallmark alum Sean Astin, who starred in 2013’s “Santa Switch” and will appear this December in “The Shift” with Hallmark star Kristoffer Polaha, was one of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee members. On July 18, he tweeted a video of himself picketing and explained the strike more in-depth.
Meanwhile, Noemi Gonzalez, who starred with Stephen Huszar in December’s “Undercover Holiday,” hasn’t been able to join the picket lines yet but shared on social media that she can’t wait to do so. Gonzalez is working on a theater production outside the U.S., which is allowed for union members. On July 14, she shared the strike logo on Instagram and a message to voice her support.
She wrote, “Very proud to be on the right side of history in this very critical time not only for actors, writers, crew, but for all workers unions to watch us fight. For us and for them. I pray those affected hold on to faith and fight that the industry will get better for all of us. And I hope that this strike is swift and effective as possible. I’m currently doing theatre outside of the states but I will see you on the picket lines when I get back. Si se puede! ✊🏽🎭🙌🏽”
‘When Calls The Heart’ Makes Adjustments for Writers’ and Actors’ Strikes
Before heading to Canada to begin filming season 11 of “When Calls the Heart,” series creator and executive producer Brian Bird joined the picket line for the writers’ strike, in which screenwriters are fighting for some of the same kinds of compensation and considerations that actors are.
“Being a member of this craft union has enabled me to use my best gifts in the world, achieve my dreams and protect of my family,” Bird wrote. “I am not anti-business or anti-capitalism, but human beings, left to their own devices, can run a business from a place of avarice if if they choose greed over generosity and selfishness over fair play. I have written many villains in this category over the years. I wish they would choose to be heroes.”
He wrote, “I want you know that our intrepid and fearless Vancouver production team have prepared an extraordinary contingency plan that will honor the WGA and SAG/ACTRA strikes, while at the same time keeping the streets of Hope Valley very busy in the weeks and months ahead.”
The plan, he outlined, is for Hallmark’s Vancouver-based production team and Canadian actors, who are part of a different union, to begin filming their scenes. Once the studios reach a deal with SAG-AFTRA, which could take months, American cast members and writers will be able to join the rest of the “WCTH” cast and crew.
“And when you experience Season 11 in 2024, through the seamless magic of the filmmaking and storytelling process, it will make it seem like they were there all along,” he wrote.