Michael Bay’s pandemic thriller Songbird may have trouble taking flight. The Songbird production has been hit by a “do not work” order from SAG-AFTRA, which is warning its members that they could be disciplined if they take an acting job on the film. The order comes a little more than a month after it was reported that Songbird filmmakers had screened their production plans by the guilds.
SAG-AFTRA has told its members to refuse to work on Michael Bay’s pandemic thriller Songbird, Variety reports. The actors union announced a “do not work” order Thursday for the production company On A Lark Productions LLC, claiming that the company failed to complete the signatory process and has not signed to any applicable SAG-AGTRA agreement. Members who do work on Songbird may be disciplined, the union said.
“As such, SAG-AFTRA members are hereby instructed to withhold any acting services or perform any covered work for this production until further notice from the union,” SAG-AFTRA said. “Please note, accepting employment or rendering services on ‘Songbird; may be considered a violation of Global Rule One. Violating this order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.”
A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson added, “The producers have not been transparent about their safety protocols and that is something we obviously take very seriously. Also, as noted in the Do Not Work order, the producers have not yet become signatory to our agreement. We have no further comment.”
Songbird had been announced in mid-May as a low-budget production that would shoot in Los Angeles, with filmmakers “providing remote training” for the cast. However no details were shared as to how the movie would actually shoot, or what safety protocols the production would follow. It was assumed, since the word “remote” was used in regards, that the film would be shot virtually like computer-screen films Unfriended and Searching, but SAG-AFTRA balking at the production suggests otherwise. Filmmakers reportedly screened their plans by the guilds, but it seems SAG-AFTRA was left out of those talks, or changed its stance.
Songbird, which is set to be directed by Into the Dark helmer Adam Mason from a script he co-wrote with Simon Boyes, is being described as something similar to Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, which hints at a found-footage/faux documentary aspect. The film “takes place two years in the future. The pandemic has not gone away. Lockdowns have been rolled back and then reinstated and it becomes even more serious as the virus continues to mutate.” While there are reportedly no supernatural elements at play, “there is governmental conspiracy and paranoia and how it impacts the cast of characters who remain in lockdown.”
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