Sean Penn supports writers' strike during Cannes movie premiere

Sean Penn attends the premiere of "Black Flies" at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on Thursday. Photo by Rune Hellestad/ UPI
1 of 5 | Sean Penn attends the premiere of "Black Flies" at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on Thursday. Photo by Rune Hellestad/ UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- Sean Penn advocated for the Writers Guild of America while at the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new film, Black Flies.

Writers Guild members are on strike, which has had an immediate impact on the film and TV industry by shutting down late-night TV shows, which are written on the same say, and impacting future productions.


"The industry has been upending the writers and directors for a long time," Penn said at a press junket for the film. "I fully support the situation with the Writers Guild, of course."

The Oscar winner continued, "There's a lot of new concepts being tossed about including the use of AI. It strikes me as a human obscenity for a pushback on that from producers."

Black Flies, directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire is based on the 2008 book by Shannon Burke. Tye Sheridan plays Ollie Cross, a paramedic working night shifts while in medical school. Penn's character is a veteran first responder who works with the rookie.


The film is set in a gritty Brooklyn neighborhood and is viewed as an indictment of the current healthcare system. Black Flies received a 5-minute standing ovation after its screening Wednesday night.

Penn, who is also well known for his activism, also said, "The first thing we should do in these conversations is change the Producers Guild and title them how they behave, which is the bankers guild. It's difficult for so many writers and people in the industry who cannot work."

The ongoing writers' strike is forcing the industry into a virtual shutdown with only previously shot projects and reality TV able to move forward. Though it may not impact the next TV and film release season, the ones after that are in jeopardy if an agreement can't be met.

This week also marks a reckoning for the powerful SAG-AFTRA union, which has voted to strike if it can't come to terms during upcoming talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The Directors Guild also is in talks with studios, so the entertainment industry could be gearing up for a strike of the three guilds most responsible for the majority of TV and movie projects.


Moments from Day 9 of the Cannes Film Festival

American actor Tom Hanks, Australian actress Olivia De Jonge and actress Priscilla Presley attend the premiere of "Elvis" at Palais des Festivals at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, France, on May 25, 2022. Photo by Rune Hellestad/ UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines