Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Saturday, 12 July 2008 14:24 UK

Governor offers to help US actors

Arnold Schwarzenegger
The governor said he had not yet been asked for assistance

California governor and Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is willing to help end the dispute between actors and Hollywood studios.

"If someone asks me to help, I would be more than happy to," he told a news conference in Los Angeles.

"It's very important to come to an agreement as quickly as possible. The last thing we need is another strike."

Negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Hollywood studios have stalled with no further talks planned.

SAG, which has 120,000 members, wants more money for actors when their work is released on DVD, plus a greater say in the endorsement of products on-air.

Their contract expired on 1 July, hours after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), presented a "final" pay offer.

AMPTP said the deal was worth more than $250m (125m) and addressed actors' key concerns.

The offer has since been used as the basis of an agreement between with the smaller actors' union The American Federation of TV and Radio Artists.

SAG is holding out for a better deal, and presented a "comprehensive" counterproposal earlier this week.

But the film and TV studios have refused to budge - and insisted that SAG submit the current proposals to their members for a vote.

Strike unlikely

Mr Schwarzenegger is the latest actor to speak out on the contract negotiations - joining the likes of Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

The star, who was elected to the post of governor in 2003, said he had not yet been asked to take part in negotiations, but wanted to help avoid strike action.

"A strike would be devastating to our industry and our economy," he said.

So far, SAG leaders have played down the likelihood of a walkout, a move that would require the support of 75% of their members.

Many industry watchers doubt actors would be willing to stop work - citing the current economic downturn and the hangover of the writers' strike earlier this year.

The 100-day action halted production on dozens of TV shows and was estimated to have cost the Los Angeles area economy more than $2bn (1bn).

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