Clooney, Streep, De Niro, and Hanks place an ad urging a quick start to talks with producers
Meryl Streep, George Clooney
Credit: Clooney: Jeffrey Mayer/Wireimage; Streep:Larry Busacca/WireImage

(FROM VARIETY) — George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, and Tom Hanks have banded together to urge the Screen Actors Guild to begin its contract negotiations with Hollywood producers quickly and thus avoid a strike that would further hold up development on movie projects.

The influential Oscar winners, who placed an ad conveying that message in Daily Variety, rarely have been involved in SAG politics in the past but are speaking out now in the wake of the arduous, just-concluded 100-day strike by the Writers Guild of America, which SAG strongly supported. Studios have put feature development on hold until SAG signs a new deal. The SAG contract expires June 30, but talks have not yet been scheduled.

In a statement on Wednesday, SAG national executive director Doug Allen said the guild is still getting input about from its members and from negotiating partner AFTRA. ”This process will conclude in the March,” Allen said in the statement. ”We will bargain with management at a time that will most benefit our members.”

At the Oscar nominees lunch, Clooney (who is up for Best Actor for his role in Michael Clayton) expressed concern that some in the guild think that delaying talks increases negotiating power: ”I think there’s a lot of strike fatigue, and I think you actually start losing negotiating power,” he said. ”I would hope we in the Screen Actors Guild get back to the table.” (Variety)