Breaking Bad stars have spoken out in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike and Aaron Paul says it’s time for streaming services like Netflix to “pony up” what they’re owed.
According to The Independent, Paul joined other Breaking Bad stars on the picket line to show their solidarity for the striking actors. Many of the notable actors have expressed dissatisfaction with the residuals (or lack thereof) that they are paid for streams of movies and TV episodes in which they appear. This is an aspect Paul understands, as Breaking Bad has been one of Netflix’s most-watched shows for years, and yet the actor claims he receives nothing from the corporation despite playing a prominent character in all five seasons.
@Todd_Spence posted a short 40-second clip in which Aaron Paul explains how he receives nothing in residuals from Netflix for Breaking Bad, even though it is the streaming services’ most watched series since it came to the platform:
Aaron Paul revealed that he earns $0 in residuals from streaming despite BREAKING BAD doing constant numbers for streamers. "I don't get a piece from Netflix on BREAKING BAD to be totally honest and that's insane to me." #AMPTP pic.twitter.com/iqiz2yVy50
— Todd Spence (@Todd_Spence) September 4, 2023
“I don’t get a piece from Netflix on Breaking Bad to be totally honest and that’s insane to me,” Paul is quoted. “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.”
Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in Breaking Bad, also spoke out. He stated that Netflix and Sony are “not villains,” nor are the performers attempting to portray them as such. Cranston elaborated,
“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. We just want them to see reality.”
@sagaftra posted a 1.5-minute clip chatting with Aaron Paul and Bryan Canston regarding the purpose of the strike and stated terms on which they feel they’re entitled:
💪 While on the #SagAftraStrike picket line, #SagAftraMembers Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul chatted with us about the importance of securing a fair, equitable and respectful contract. Until we get what we deserve, “we’re not going anywhere.” #SagAftraStrong ✊ pic.twitter.com/7VAUw8pfNf
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) August 29, 2023
Striking Actors Demand Increased Residuals
“Once the higher-ups sort of come back to Earth and come back to reality I really do feel that we’re going to find a common ground and march forward in this,” According to Deadline, Cranston was also quoted on the picket line saying: “That’s how we paid our bills… residuals, international residuals, DVD sales and things like that but those things are gone.”
Given how much the situation has changed, there has been a greater emphasis on paying out more for residuals.
Several additional casts, like actors from Parks and Recreation and the cult smash Jury Duty, have joined picket lines during the strike, establishing a link between popular series and the strike demands.
The issue of residual payments, or additional compensation provided to performers when their TV shows or movies are replayed, has been key to the strike action.
Given that their shows were rerun so frequently on television, the stars of long-running terrestrial sitcoms like Friends or The Big Bang Theory were among the highest-paid TV stars of all time thanks to residuals.
However, in the streaming age, actors are rarely paid residuals, despite the fact that their work is continually available for fans to replay.
Mandy Moore, star of NBC’s This Is Us, recently revealed that she only receives “pennies” from residual payments, despite the show’s critical acclaim as well as substantial viewership figures.
Elsewhere, Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy slammed Netflix over the problem.
Cranston also confirmed SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher’s recent comments to The Associated Press that the two Hollywood strikes are sparking a greater movement throughout the country.
“Without organised labour, 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”
Better Call Saul cast members Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian also joined the picket lines, as did the show’s co-creator, Peter Gould, who has been on strike with the Writers Guild of America since May.
With the SAG-AFTRA strike in full swing, and Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul leading the charge, Breaking Bad is now available on Netflix in the United States.