EXCLUSIVE: Unstoppable has, in fact, been stopped — at least for now. Production on the wrestling drama, starring Jennifer Lopez and Jharrel Jerome, paused for the day earlier this morning following picketing at their shooting location near USC.
Artists Equity, the new production company that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon co-founded with RedBird Capital, declined to comment. Whether shooting will resume tomorrow is not yet clear.
Somewhere between 15 and 25 picketers arrived at Unstoppable‘s base camp for the day around 4:30 a.m., with strikers working to maintain a lockdown on a site with numerous entrances. Sources tell Deadline that momentum on the picket line really picked up around 6 a.m. Another close to the situation noted that this is the first time the production has been picketed, though shooting has been taking place for at least two weeks.
The second feature project from Artists Equity following the critically acclaimed Nike drama Air, which closed out this year’s SXSW Film Festival before going on to debut in theaters and on Prime Video, Unstoppable tells the true story of Anthony Robles (Jerome), a three-time All-American wrestler born with one leg who prevailed in a national championship at Arizona State.
Billy Goldenberg, the Academy Award-winning editor who has previously worked with Affleck on films like Argo, here makes his feature debut as director, working closely on the project with Robles. While Artists Equity had been in talks with Amazon on the project, it’s not yet clear whether or not that’s where the film will land.
In conversation with Deadline this morning, one member of Unstoppable‘s crew mused that there’s “a huge irony that the WGA is targeting a company like Artists Equity, which is actually designed to try to provide equitable wages for all. The WGA needs to differentiate how they’re approaching these things because they’re essentially picketing an independent production whose very thesis is making sure there’s fair wages for all.”
Artists Equity had talked at launch about expanding the set of those garnering profit participation, providing “performance-based incentives to creators and crew that allow all participants in the production value chain to share in profits.”