In the midst of a highly publicized Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike that has seen film and television actors refuse to make promotional appearances, there’s one outlier.
Jim Caviezel, leading star of the recently released film “Sound of Freedom”, is making waves by promoting his movie despite the ongoing union action.
This situation raises eyebrows as Caviezel is a SAG member himself, however, his participation in promotional activities is rooted in the unique nature of the film’s production.
As he explained in a recent conversation with Fox News host Sean Hannity, “Those are my brothers and sisters of SAG. I support them, but we are not a part of [the collective bargaining agreement with] AMPTP. We wanted to be, but they didn’t want any part of this film.”
The AMPTP, or Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, encapsulates the industry’s biggest players, including Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, and more. “Sound of Freedom”, however, was produced under the banner of independent distributor Angel Studios, thereby placing it outside the jurisdiction of the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA’s collective bargaining agreement.
The film has had an unusual journey since its conception in 2015. The movie, based on the real-life story of Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit fighting child trafficking, was initially acquired by 20th Century Fox.
The rights were then bought back by the filmmakers following Disney’s acquisition of Fox, and Angel Studios was eventually awarded the distribution deal.
Despite this arduous journey, Caviezel’s commitment to the project has never wavered.
He acknowledges a lack of support from the industry but is not deterred in his mission to promote the film. As the actor told Hannity, “We wanted to be a part of AMPTP, but they didn’t want any part of this film.”
As “Sound of Freedom” takes its place in theaters, it does so against the backdrop of widespread industry discontent. The current SAG-AFTRA strike has been sparked by grievances regarding pay and the fear of replacement by artificial intelligence, with the underlying issue being a demand for better contractual terms.
High-profile stars like Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are among those who have taken a stand, choosing to walk out of the London premiere of their new movie, “Oppenheimer”.
In contrast, Caviezel’s decision to promote “Sound of Freedom” may appear to be controversial, but it’s a reminder of the complexities of the industry. While Caviezel assures his solidarity with fellow SAG members, he is determined to navigate these turbulent waters to ensure “Sound of Freedom” finds its audience.
“Sound of Freedom” releases amid an industry shakeup, with Caviezel, its lead, standing strong in his resolve to bring the film’s message to the world. As the SAG-AFTRA strike continues, the industry will be closely watched for developments, and “Sound of Freedom” will undoubtedly remain a unique case study within the conflict.
Despite its unconventional path to release, Caviezel’s dedication and commitment to “Sound of Freedom” reflect his passion for the film’s subject matter.
As the industry seeks a resolution to its current dispute, this film’s journey serves as a reminder of the resilience and determination intrinsic to filmmaking and the entertainment industry’s diverse and multifaceted nature.