Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Zachary Levi appeared to question the rules of the ongoing actors strike at a fan event, describing the inability to talk about his film and TV work as “dumb.” But on Friday, he issued a statement saying the comments were taken out of context and that he is a supporter of the dual strikes.
On Thursday night, a video started circulating of Levi on stage at what appears to be Manchester Comic-Con, which took place in the U.K. late last month. In the clip, Levi laments that he can’t discuss his work on Chuck, Tangled and the Shazam! films although he takes care not to mention those titles directly. “I’m not allowed to talk about…. This is so dumb. I’m not allowed to talk about any of my previous work,” Levi says in the clip.
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“I’m not allowed to talk about movies that I may be a superhero in. I’m not allowed to talk about TV shows that I may have been a nerd who worked at a Best Buy. I’m not allowed to talk about any animated princess movies that I was fantastic in — as the best prince ever! I’m not allowed to talk about those things.”
It is unclear what Levi says before or after the clip. His comments appear to be a clumsy joke, rather than pointed criticism as he has not previously publicly talked about SAG-AFTRA’s strike rules.
On Friday, Levi clarified his remarks.
“It’s come to my attention that an offhand remark I made in jest last weekend is being taken out of context,” Levi said in a statement Friday. “So let me be very clear. I fully support my union, the WGA, and the strike. I remain an outspoken critic of the exploitative system that us artists are subject to work in since I started my journey in this business 25 years ago. This strike is necessary to protect ourselves, our writers, and all those working in production who make the industry move.”
In an Instagram post from earlier in July, Levi posted a video in which he made a lengthy and passionately argued defense of both the strike and the reasons for it, and he took particular pains to outline clearly the dangers of AI on the entertainment industry. “[The studio executives] do not care about human life, they don’t care about, really, life in general. They care about profits,” Levi says in the Instagram clip.
He adds: “It’s always profit over people and not the other way around. So mark my words, if we don’t do something drastic right now…we’re doing something very drastic, and we need to be doing this very drastic thing.”
“We need to be striking, we should have done this years ago.”
Levi is the second DC actor to become embroiled in controversy related to comments about the strike. Arrow star Stephen Amell, during an appearance at Raleigh’s GalaxyCon, revealed that he did not support the actors strike and its impact on the promotion of work. After a wave of criticism from fellow union members and a backlash on social media, Amell walked back some of his comments the following day, re-emphasizing his support for SAG-AFTRA, even if he personally was uncomfortable with striking.
Updated to include Levi’s statements about the viral clip.
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