Guy Pearce Protests SAG's 'Bullying'

Guy Pearce Protests SAG's 'Bullying'

Australian movie star Guy Pearce labeled America's actors' union a bully for trying to stop its members from working in Australia on lower wages.

On May 1, the United States Screen Actor's Guild, or SAG, began enforcing a rule that orders its 98,000 members not to work on a film, television show or theatrical production in Australia or any other country unless they have union-approved contracts and are offered U.S. rates of pay.

The union said on its Web site that its Global Rule One would "ensure that the protections of the Guild follow our performers wherever they may work."

Pearce, who starred in "Memento," "L.A. Confidential," and "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," said Tuesday that while he is sympathetic to SAG's stance, he is concerned about its impact on locally made productions.

A member of SAG as well as Australia's actor's union, Pearce said the U.S. guild's rule would effectively remove the ability of Australian actors like Oscar winner Russell Crowe and Heath Ledger to shave their multimillion-dollar film fees to perform in small budget local productions.

"I would hate for it to affect, actually change, the (Australian) industry, that's just crazy," Pearce said.

"If it's purely an Australian film, and it's under the Australian union then we should just work it in that regard. Ultimately I think it's almost bullying behavior," he added.

Pearce is starring in the Hollywood blockbuster "The Count of Monte Cristo," and an Australian film, "The Hard Word," which premiered in Sydney on Monday.

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