The Hollywood writers’ strike has made production of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s future Netflix projects ‘difficult’, a source close to the couple has said.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a six-part documentary called ‘Harry and Meghan’ last December – the first project they will emerge from their £80million deal with the network in 2020, soon after they step down as members of the royal family.
Three weeks later on New Year’s Eve they released their second Netflix production, Live to Lead, about global leaders who fought for social justice.
Now, the pair are said to be discussing humanitarian issues in South Africa ahead of a third Netflix documentary that will see them meet the local community.
But a source close to Sussex told The Daily Telegraph that it was ‘difficult’ for Netflix to go ahead with any of the projects due to the ongoing US writers’ strike.
Hilary Duff, Bob Odenkirk and Kevin Bacon are among the stars who have joined fellow actors on the picket line amid the biggest industrial strike in 60 years.
Strike action took place yesterday outside major Los Angeles studios including Netflix, Warner Bros, Disney and Paramount, but two were cut short due to the heat.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their Netflix show ‘Harry and Meghan’ last December
Harry and Meghan at the Miss Foundation Women of Vision Awards in New York on May 16
The action began Friday after contract talks between the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down.
An estimated 160,000 actors are now on strike across the United States, joining 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who walked out on May 2.
This is the first time both unions have gone on strike since the 1960s, when former US President Ronald Reagan led SAAG-AFTRA.
Now, the ongoing strike is also affecting plans for Harry and Meghan’s next Netflix documentary which they are set to watch on their tour of South Africa – meaning they can’t go ahead with production just yet.
No official announcement has been made about what the new program will be, but the Sunday Mirror reported last month that the couple could be shown in the village they help build homes for.
A source told the newspaper that cameras will follow the Sussexes ‘as they visit compounds and share medical lessons’, with the production set to be a joint project between Netflix and the couple’s Archewell Foundation.
The source added: ‘Meghan is particularly keen to share information about safe childbirth with the women she meets.’
But a report from Page Six claims it could be a one-off production for Harry, following in the footsteps of his mother Princess Diana who traveled to Africa to raise awareness about landmines.
SAAG-AFTRA strike outside Netflix studios on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles yesterday
Members of the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA walk outside the Netflix studios in Los Angeles yesterday.
And it will come after Harry and Meghan went on a royal visit to South Africa in 2019 while they were still working royals, meeting members of the community in townships around Cape Town during their trip with Archie.
While the new show is being planned for production, it has also emerged that the couple’s series ‘Harry and Meghan’ has been nominated for a Hollywood award.
The show saw a troll handing out photos and videos of their relationship, including Harry’s proposal moment.
The first three episodes featured a number of jabs at the royals, including Harry’s claim that he was ‘literally raised’ by a ‘second family’ in Africa where he chose to spend three months in his teens and late twenties to come to terms with his mother’s death.
It also claims that the UK is more obsessed with race than the US, with Meghan declaring that she was ‘not really treated like a black woman’ until she came here.
Directed by Liz Gerbas, ‘Harry and Meghan’ has been nominated for a Hollywood Critics Award in the Best Streaming Non-Fiction category.
It’s up against Prehistoric Planet 2; Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss; renewal; 1619 project and the reluctant traveler with Eugene Levy.
The nomination comes after Harry and Meghan’s £18million Spotify deal ended early, although the couple still have the Duke’s £29million four-book deal.
The Hollywood strike, meanwhile, is still ongoing, meaning actors won’t film new projects or promote their films at junkets, premieres, awards shows or conventions, including the 2023 San Diego Comic Con, which opens Thursday.
The new Disney film Haunted Mansion had its global premiere at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on Saturday, but without Wayne Wilson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tiffany Haddish.
Actress Hilary Duff walks in support of SAAG-AFTRA and the WGA strike in Los Angeles yesterday
Kevin Bacon joined Sag-After members outside Paramount Studios in New York City yesterday
Actor Bob Odenkirk walks in support of the SAAG-AFTRA strike in Los Angeles yesterday
News of the impending strike forced the cast of Christopher Nolan’s new movie Oppenheimer to walk out of the London premiere last week, and planned junkets for the film, including Barbie, were also affected.
Producers of independent films can be given concessions to continue shooting despite the strike, as long as they are working outside the studio system.
Marvel star Mark Ruffalo was among the high-profile actors who advocated for such a waiver, and a potential share of the profits from successful independent films.
The contract between the union representing major film studios, TV networks and streaming giants and AMPTP expired after negotiators failed to reach an agreement on several issues, including pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The union said actors face an ‘existential threat to their livelihood’ with the rise of generative AI technology and the threat of unregulated use.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Sag-Aftertra’s chief negotiator, said studios wanted the ability to scan the faces of background artists to pay for a day’s work and then be able to own and use their likenesses for any future projects without consent. or compensation.
The issue of pay has also been a key part of the discussion as the advent of streaming has changed the way actors are compensated for their work.
In the past they used to make money from residuals, where they were paid based on reruns of their shows and films, but streaming has hit it hard, with actors and writers saying their residuals have dwindled.
The union said members were striking for a fair share of profits, but the AMPTP said negotiators had opted to skip the ‘lowest percentage increase in 35 years’ in favor of going on strike.
MailOnline has today contacted Sussex’s representatives for comment.