Update, March 11: Following publication of this article, The Stage has received confirmation from the agency representing the actors that agency Space 150, which made the commercial, and the client Cambria have now “carried out their contractual and financial responsibilities to the actors in this series of commercials.”
Eleven British actors are owed a reported €106,000 in unpaid fees for an advertising campaign that launched at the Oscars more than eight months ago, after being caught up in a dispute between production companies.
Cast members have described the experience as “financially damaging and emotionally distressing”.
The campaign, which is divided into seven chapters and narrated by Colin Farrell, was created for US-based kitchen surface manufacturer Cambria in 2015.
Minnesota-based agency Space150 made the commercial, which was filmed in locations near Dublin, with production companies Logan and Pull the Trigger contracted in the making of the advert.
Richard Bucknall, owner of agency RBM Comedy, which is representing the group of actors, said that none of the performers had been paid usage fees, which were allegedly due in March 2018, for the airing of the advert at the Oscars. The actors have been paid for the filming of the commercial.
The performers have instructed a lawyer to represent them and negotiate with the parties involved.
The actors involved in the advert are Darren Bransford, Emma West, Ryan Cloud, John Burke, Morgan C Jones, Danny O’Connor, Martin Phillips, Laura Dale, James Flynn, Rhys Isaac-Jones and Ethan Gavin. Farrell is understood to have been paid a use fee for his role in the advert.
West said: “What has shocked me most about this ordeal is discovering how many of my friends and colleagues have been through the same thing. I can’t think of another profession where non-payment is as prevalent. And as with any injustice, it is essential to talk about it. Those that would take advantage rely on our silence and our passivity.”
Another performer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Coming from a working-class background, I’m well aware of the financial difficulties of pursuing this career. However, when you have successfully booked work and contractual obligations of payment have not been fulfilled, it is both financially damaging and emotionally distressing.”
Space150 said the actors had been left unpaid due to a financial disagreement between production companies.
A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, the cast members have been caught in the middle of an unfortunate dispute between the production partners, and we are working diligently to resolve their claims of non-payment.
“We have spoken with counsel for the cast members, and are discussing their claims with Logan TV and Pull the Trigger, two production companies who worked on the Cambria advertisement. We cannot comment further at this time.”
A lawyer representing production company Logan claimed that “Logan has fulfilled all of its obligations regarding the issue” and has “no responsibility for the payment of any talent usage fees for this project”.
Pull the Trigger has not yet responded to a request for comment.