‘House of the Dragon’ will continue filming through the WGA & SAG-AFTRA strikes

HBO/Max’s House of the Dragon is currently filming its second season in the UK. As in, they’re still filming even though SAG-AFTRA is on strike. While many of the actors on HotD are SAG members, there are also a lot of card-carrying Equity members, which is the actors’ union in the UK. While Equity is “standing with” SAG-AFTRA, the local anti-union laws in the UK basically say that HotD actors have to keep working through the strike.

“House of the Dragon” can continue filming in the U.K. despite the SAG-AFTRA actors strike, Variety can reveal. Just as the U.S. actors union announced a strike Thursday due to its inability to ink a new deal with the AMPTP, sources confirmed that production is planned to proceed as scheduled on the second season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel.

The HBO series’ cast is composed of primarily U.K. actors who are working under contracts governed by the local union, Equity. As such, the series is technically allowed to continue filming because Equity members aren’t legally allowed to strike in solidarity with the U.S. union.

Equity shared its actors strike guidance with its 47,000 members on Thursday, shortly before the strike was officially declared by SAG-AFTRA, stating: “Equity U.K. will support SAG-AFTRA and its members by all lawful means. A performer joining the strike (or refusing to cross a picket line) in the U.K. will have no protection against being dismissed or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the engager. Likewise, if Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not cross a picket line, Equity itself will be acting unlawfully and hence liable for damages or an injunction,” Equity said in its guidance to members.

Sources indicate that the U.K.’s strict union laws have prevented an extensive show of solidarity from Equity, which can’t legally call a strike to support SAG-AFTRA due to restrictive British legislation.

Equity posited a number of scenarios under which actors on “House of the Dragon” can continue to work. The guidance for actors who are Equity members but not SAG-AFTRA members who are working in the U.K. on an Equity contract for a U.S. producer is that they continue to work as they have no protection from being dismissed or sued by the producer. It is the same guidance for SAG-AFTRA members who are not Equity members in a similar production. For SAG-AFTRA members on an Equity contract under Global Rule 1, which states that a SAG-AFTRA member cannot work on any project, anywhere in the world, that is not covered under a SAG-AFTRA agreement, the guidance is again to continue working. The guidance for more actors in complicated scenarios is to seek advice from SAG-AFTRA.

[From Variety]

What’s bonkers is that HotD has been filming for months through the writers’ strike too – allegedly, “all” of the Dragon scripts were “completed” before the WGA strike. So they’ve been filming for months with no writers on set, no one to rewrite or update lines, no script coordinators? And now Equity is telling their actors that they can’t strike in solidarity with SAG, even though several of those British actors are ALSO members of SAG. Hm. It would be interesting to see if the actors – or even just a few of the actors – decide to say f–k it and go on strike. This is the loophole many studios and streamers will exploit too, they’ll go with overseas productions, foreign actors and locales with little to no union protection.

Photos courtesy of HBO/Max.

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16 Responses to “‘House of the Dragon’ will continue filming through the WGA & SAG-AFTRA strikes”

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  1. Ameerah M says:

    UK Labor laws for actors are very different than the laws here in the US. They could not only be fired for walking off set but they could lose their membership, and be sued for breach of contract. Most of the actors working aren’t stars making millions of dollars – that’s a lot to ask people to do. Now if EVERY Equity actor on EVERY project did it – that would be hard to argue with. But that simply isn’t going to happen.

    • bettyrose says:

      I feel a little guilty about this because I absolutely support the strikes, but I’m glad to have so much UK & EU content in archives and in production to watch.

  2. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I believe they have a write on set—the showrunner, who has chosen not to leave. Like Ryan Murphy. For some reason their content is more important than actual meaningful, socially relevant and topical content and must be produced now or society will collapse.

    • OriginalLeigh says:

      I assume the strict labor laws would also apply to screenwriters in the UK?

  3. Mia4s says:

    Yeah we will all notice in the next few weeks several productions that will continue or start up overseas under Equity contracts (and yes, on some of them the studios would have planned it that way). Don’t direct anger at the actors about that, they are legally stuck. Anger and disgust at the studios though? Oh yeah.

    Filming during the Writer’s Strike is just…yikes. When some of these projects are just not quite as good as you hoped this will be why. Something complicated like House of the Dragon would desperately need writers on set to smooth out the rough spots. Good luck I guess.

  4. s808 says:

    they’re in between a rock and a hard place here, yikes. I won’t judge the actors, whatever they choose.

    • Kelly says:

      Yeah, except for Matt Smith and Graham McTavish, a lot of them were fairly unknown actors before the first season. I’d imagine a lot of them don’t have the money to face those stuff penalties or the clout to make a huge difference. It must be heart wrenching.

      • Ameerah M says:

        Exactly. And I am sure that they have a lot of the same concerns as the SAG-AFTRA members do. Hopefully they too will be able to re-negotiate with studios at some point soon as well.

  5. Delphine says:

    This is ridiculous! All of the actors should strike immediately if they can. But I guess they’re stuck in contracts. Ugh. And the rest of us should boycott this show.

  6. Ace says:

    I think the showrunner is already scabbing excuse me, “being a showrunner and absolutely doing no rewrites I swear” so my opinion of the people in charge of the show is already on the toilet. I know Olivia Cooke signed that letter from actors supporting a strike (maybe others did too, I don’t know) so I feel sorry for the actors that are stuck in that position. Most of them are working actors and not superstars so striking would fuck them over.

    Personally, I’m glad that I thought the end of the first season went off the rails already so I’m not invested anymore in the show.

  7. Twin Falls says:

    Consumers need to find a way to stand with labor.

    • McGee says:

      If we as consumers cancelled our subscriptions to streamers for duration of strike, it would be tremendous … but I no longer trust or believe in People as a whole to take a stand that at all inconveniences them, even if it is for something that benefits them in the longer term. I am cancelling on Monday, much to my family’s disappointment, but I know I alone don’t count for anything. Still, I know my grandfather would have sone the same.

  8. PPP says:


    I won’t support the show or any of the actors after this. Sorry not sorry. All of labor is screwed if people don’t take a stand now.

    • Barb Mill says:

      I agree. I’m definitely not going to any movies (Barbie sadness) or watching anything new. Can I watch season 3 of Bridgerton which completed filming a while ago? Also I’m having trouble with can I watch older series on streaming services. Do I turn off my TV. I feel like a slew of new reality tv is coming which has been bad for writers, actors in the first place. I really don’t want more unscripted fake tv.
      Do you plan on turning off your TV, because that seems to be the way we support this.
      I live in the US so the UK laws don’t apply to me but I strongly support union.

  9. Tree says:

    This is what United Kingdom and its territories do. They wait for strikes and lulls and move in by force. It happened last actors strike. Then they cry about not being treated like a star. They say ” carry on” but then want to be treated as equals. There is a reason most productions no longer have a “English crossover” anymore. Think about FRIENDS tv show going to London. Other countries use to do that but stopped. You no longer have a “let’s go to the Australian outback” episode.

    The uk are notorious for being scabs. So many countries have complained about them. Example being Spain. Now a new generation will be ticked off. Commercials will move to Toronto and Essex. Just like last time.

  10. Slush says:

    Given the reality that they face lawsuits brought against them by powerful studios, I do not blame the actors, writers, or whoever else for finishing out the contract they are currently under. The vast majority of these people cannot afford to be out of work AND fight a lawsuit. Just because someone is on TV does not make them millionaires.

    I would hope that they would show solidarity by not engaging in new contracts, or not engaging in any promo activity outside of the current contract, until this strike is over.