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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
UK actors threaten walk out
Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts received extra money for Notting Hill
UK actors are following their American counterparts by threatening strike action over payments for successful films.

The actors' union Equity has given six months notice of its request for negotiations to be opened with film bosses.

The move comes in the wake of a threatened strike by US actors and screenwriters.

Equity members want to enter into talks with the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) over payments for movies which do well financially.

The last thing any film actor in this country wants is a dispute, but we cannot any longer stand by and see actors denied a fair share in the success of their work

Equity general secretary Ian McGarry

The union has stated it wants to avoid a strike.

A spokesman said: "We're not putting a gun at the producers' heads but if they don't talk we are bound to consider what other steps we can take."

UK actors are paid a flat fee for work which covers box office sales and video and DVD releases.

Ludicrous

But, the union believes its members are not getting a fair deal in comparison to US actors who can get huge bonuses if a film does well.

It uses the example of hits such as Notting Hill, for which only American actress Julia Roberts was paid extra for its commercial success.

The spokesman added: "You have the ludicrous position where US actors get paid extra for a successful film, but British actors get nothing more."

"If you take a film like Mission: Impossible, there have been $1.8m (1.3m) in additional fees for the US actors for the TV and video uses, but the British haven't got a single extra penny.

"British performers get no payment in relation to how successful the film is - they just get that same flat rate payment for TV, video and DVD.

Equity general secretary Ian McGarry said: "The last thing any film actor in this country wants is a dispute, but we cannot any longer stand by and see actors denied a fair share in the success of their work.

Pact has stated that it is always willing to communicate with Equity.

It said producers had to negotiate rates upfront for all contributors, such as writers and musicians, in order to secure financial backing and get the film into production.

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