General News

Guy Pearce Accuses SAG of "Bullying"

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May 22, 2002 | 12:41pm EDT

Australian actor Guy Pearce, who starred in The Time Machine, The Count of Monte Cristo and Memento, has labeled the Screen Actors Guild a bully for trying to stop its members from working in Australia for lower pay.

As of May 1, the SAG began enforcing a rule that orders its 98,000 members not to work on a film, television show or theatrical production in Australia or any other country unless they have union-approved contracts and are offered U.S. pay rates, The Associated Press reports.

Pearce, who is a member of both the SAG and the Australian actor's union, said that while he is sympathetic to the SAG's viewpoint, he is concerned about the effect the rule will have on local productions.

"If it's purely an Australian film, and it's under the Australian union, then we should just work it in that regard. Ultimately, I think it's almost bullying behavior," he told AP.

According to the union's Web site, Global Rule One ensures that the protections of the Guild follow their performers wherever they may work.

Pearce claims that the rule would prevent Australian actors like Russell Crowe and Heath Ledger from waiving their multimillion-dollar film fees to work in small-budget local productions.

Pearce's Australian film, The Hard Word, premiered in Sydney on Monday.

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