“Roe v. Wade” faced a crush of challenges in the run-up to its April release date, from crew members quitting mid-production to secured locations suddenly preventing the crew from working on their property.
That’s only part of the story, according to two figures behind a film that takes a pro-life perspective on the infamous 1973 Supreme Court abortion decision. They allege the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) attempted to crush the film before it could reach the public, a charge the union vigorously denies.
Nick Loeb, who stars in “Roe v. Wade” as well as co-writing and co-directing the feature, says he initially kept quiet about the matter.
“We were so scared to talk about it … you know how powerful SAG is,” Loeb says. So why open up about the matter now?
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” says Loeb, whose film has been available on major streaming platforms like iTunes and Amazon for the last few weeks. “The story needs to be told.”
Loeb says SAG assigned a representative to work with “Roe v. Wade,” a standard practice in the industry. Though he didn’t know the background of the SAG person assigned to his film initially, he later learned she was Pearl Brady, who doubles as a volunteer clinic escort for Planned Parenthood.
Brady’s LinkedIn page confirms her ties to both SAG and Planned Parenthood. SAG did not return a request for comment on why Brady was assigned to rep “Roe v. Wade” given her personal history and the film’s subject matter.
Loeb says SAG routinely requires productions like “Roe v. Wade” to set up a deposit early on in production to ensure enough money exists for actors to be compensated for their work.
“They wanted an exorbitant deposit, which isn’t normal,” he says.
While that situation was being discussed, he says SAG reached out to the agents of several cast members, warning them the production wasn’t in compliance with SAG rules. One actress, a younger star from a famous film family, left the production due to those calls, Loeb alleges.
“Older guys, like [‘Roe v. Wade’ co-star] Jon Voight … they know the game. They didn’t give a f***,” Loeb says. It still hurt the production. “We had to scramble and call everybody and say we are in compliance.”
The SAG pressure didn’t end there, according to Loeb, who explained that SAG representatives usually spend a limited time on set to ensure stars are being treated fairly.
“Then you never hear from them again. Not on our movie,” says Loeb, who previously worked as an actor before trying on multiple hats for “Roe v. Wade.”
The SAG representative repeatedly showed up on the set, at one point alleging two crew members were illegally acting in the film, which Loeb says wasn’t true.
SAG fined the production just south of $500,000 as a result, claiming the film couldn’t be released until the sum had been paid.
Contacted by The Daily Wire, SAG denied Loeb’s charges “categorically.”
“Furthermore, this project started production several years ago, and this is the first we have heard of these baseless claims. The production in question also violated several terms of our contract during production including non-payment of performers and still has several active claims for non-payment with our legal department. The union is legally required to take a serious interest in productions that can’t even make basic wage payments to our members by monitoring them through set visits and other means,” SAG said in a statement sent to The Daily Wire.
A second “Roe v. Wade” source, one close to the production, backs up Loeb’s claims.
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I’ve never had an issue with SAG … maybe extra paper work, but nothing contentious, just pushing papers,” the source said.
The source says SAG reprimanded the “Roe v. Wade” production for offering walk-on roles for the film to those who took part in a crowdfunding effort to bolster the film’s budget. The production took down the offer but pointed out that other projects had offered similar perks, like the crowdfunded “Veronica Mars” film.
“We were in our right to do so … but we did take it down,” the source says.
At one point, the source reached out to Brady to iron out some of the issues enveloping the film, but that conversation went poorly.
“She started screaming at me, [saying] she has 10 other more important projects to deal with. She didn’t have the time putting so much energy into ours,” the source says. “I’ve never gotten into a conflict with a SAG rep before .. it was extraordinary.”
Brady’s pro-choice work seemed like a conflict given the tone of “Roe v. Wade,” which the film’s team told SAG.
“We notified SAG of her bias … they elevated our project to her boss, her boss would deal with it .. the harassment didn’t end,” the source says. “One SAG rep spent the entire day [on the set], interrogating some of our cast members. ‘Are you being mistreated?’”
“It’s been a complete nightmare,” the source says. “SAG had the power to block our release. It’s most powerful union in the entertainment industry.”
One matter is beyond debate. “Roe v. Wade” faced obstacles unlike most feature films.
Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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