SAG-AFTRA Rescinds "Do Not Work" Order for Michael Bay-Produced Pandemic Film

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Michael Bay

Shortly after a union rep said "producers have not been transparent about their safety protocols" the issue appears to have been resolved.

After the Michael Bay-produced pandemic thriller Songbird was hit with a "Do Not Work" notice by SAG-AFTRA, producers appeared to have resolved its issue with the performers union, which rescinded the order on July 2. 

"SAG-AFTRA has rescinded its Do Not Work order for the feature film Songbird, produced by On a Lark Productions, LLC, and members are free to work on this production effective immediately," read a statement from the union on Friday. 

The film, whose cast was unveiled on June 24, is backed by Bay, as well as Invisible Narratives, run by former Paramount Pictures exec Adam Goodman and Disney exec Andrew Sugerman, and Catchlight Films, founded by Blumhouse veterans Jessica Hall Malanaphy and Jeanette Volturno and producers Marcei A. Brown and Rick A. Osako.

Earlier on July 2, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson had told The Hollywood Reporter: "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 is set to be directed by Adam Mason, who co-wrote the script, and has a cast that includes Demi Moore, Craig Robinson, Paul Walter Hauser and Peter Stormare. The project, which was presented at the Virtual Cannes Market in late June, is said to be described as a near-future disaster horror film featuring a stark divide between the rich and poor. THR earlier noted that the film was looking to begin production in Los Angeles this month. 

Before rescinding the notice, SAG-AFTRA had sent a note to members on Friday about the "Do Not Work" order, stating, "The producer of the picture entitled Songbird has failed to complete the signatory process and is therefore not signed to any applicable SAG-AFTRA agreement. 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."

The union statement had added: "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."

As of June 12, film and TV production was allowed to resume in Los Angeles County under strict on-set safety protocols from the county's Department of Public Health including "regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew" as well as an on-set COVID-19 compliance officer, social distancing, and regular cleaning of sets and props.

A request for comment has been sent to Invisible Narratives, Bay Films, Catchlight Films and a rep for Mason. 

July 3, 8:40 pm PST Updated headline and story to reflect that SAG-AFTRA has rescinded its "Do Not Work" order on Songbird