Succession's Brian Cox takes aim at streaming services as he joins British actors backing strike

ITV News' entertainment reporter Rishi Davda spoke to Succession star Brian Cox in Leicester Square about the fate of Hollywood

Succession star Brian Cox has taken aim at streaming services as he joined actors at a solidarity strike in London.

Hot off the heels of Succession's hit final season, the 77-year-old actor joined stars in Leicester Square voicing their support for actors and writers striking in Hollywood.

Media dynasty drama Succession, which smashed viewership records on HBO and HBO Max, aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK, and on its streaming and TV on-demand platform NOW TV.

The star, who played media tycoon Logan Roy on Succession, said he supported striking SAG-AFTRA members across the Atlantic, many of whom have raised concerns about the rates of residuals payments for their work hosted on streaming platforms.

Cox told ITV News: "They're caught between a rock and a hard place. The streaming thing has really shifted the paradigm completely about how we watch television.

Brian Cox criticised streaming services as he spoke to ITV News entertainment reporter Rishi Davda at a solidary protest in London

"People binge-watch on a regular basis, and that binge-watching of course serves us because they like our work. But we need to also have some kind of say in that and vested interested in that, and they're trying to remove that."

Asked if a potential decrease in the number of TV shows and films coming from the US will finally prompt production companies to listen, Cox said: "Yeah, because they'll suffer.

"They're going to suffer because they are the producers. They're already suffering. The whole paradigm has shifted considerably because it used to be all Hollywood based - it isn't anymore.

"Hollywood is not the centre anymore - they used to think it was, but it isn't."

HBO's Succession is a multiple-award winning hit.

While strike action is taking place across the Atlantic, Cox stressed a need for stronger union laws in the UK to protect its film and television workers.

The actor was speaking after the government's crackdown on 'disruptive' protests came into force earlier this month, the day after a new law on minimum service levels for public services during strikes was given Royal Assent, and on a bruising by-election results day for Rishi Sunak's Conservative party.

"We're subject here to the worst draconian anti-strike laws ever, set up by [former prime minister Margaret] Thatcher, they have to be repealed", Cox continued.

He joined Lord of the Rings Gollum star Andy Serkis and other British actors protesting in the square today in solidarity with striking actors in the US.

Protesters in Leicester Square showed solidarity with actors and writers in the US. Credit: PA

Major disruption has been caused to Hollywood productions, premieres, and conventions, as members of both the SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild) and the Writers Guild of America take industrial action.

It is the first time both unions have been on strike at the same time since 1960 - amid frustrations over pay falling as a result of streaming and the potential for AI to undermine actors' work.

With strike action going on since May 2 with no sign of a resolution, members of the Screen Actors Guild sister union in the UK, Equity, showed their support at a rally in central London.

Watch: Brian Cox urges Labour to repeal "draconian" anti-strike laws if it gets into government

Rob Delaney was among the big names taking part in Equity's protest. Credit: PA

Speaking after the rally, Andy Serkis told reporters how it is wrong to use AI to undermine the work of actors.

“I’m probably one of the most scanned actors on the planet for various different films, and projects," said the actor - a member of both Sag-Aftra and Equity.

“I would say I have probably been scanned more than anyone ever. I know that my image can be used, or my library of movements, can be used or my voice.

“(It) is wrong that that is easily accessed and used without remunerating the artist.”

Cox told the crowds in Leicester Squae how he appeared on a talk show where an AI version of him was going to do "animal impressions" - something he's never done in his career.

He added: “Nobody is exempt in this. If you do a performance, if you’re on a film, on a movie, on a TV show, that is where they’ll get you and that’s what we have to stop.”

Lynda Rooke speaks during the rally. Credit: PA

Protesters in Leicester Square carried signs saying "Leave AI to Sci-fi", "Write to Strike", and "This Barbie's last residual was $0.02."

Delivering a speech, American actor Rob Delaney compared the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMTPT) to "silly little toddlers".

“They brag like toddlers, they have these earnings calls and they talk about the subscriber numbers and the blockbuster numbers," he said.

“Then we asked for a nickel and they were like ‘No, no, we don’t have any’.”

Sag-Aftra, which represents around 160,000 actors across the US, failed to negotiate new contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Multiple Hollywood stars have been pictured on the picket lines, joining striking members of the Writers Guild of America, who began industrial action on May 2.

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