Denver Newsroom, Mar 5, 2021 / 04:28 pm (CNA).- Several actors who worked on the film “Roe v. Wade” claim they are still waiting to be paid for their work on the movie, despite shooting their scenes over two years ago.
The film’s co-director and co-producer told CNA that the payment issue is resolved on their end, and they are waiting for the actors union to pay the actors using a large deposit the filmmakers placed with the union.
“Roe v. Wade,” a film about the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision on abortion, premiered last weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Susan LaBrecque, a Mississippi-based actor with a small speaking role in the movie, told CNA that she has yet to be paid for her work, despite her scenes being filmed over two days in New Orleans during July 2018.
Members of the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, normally can expect their payment to arrive within 30-45 days of filming, LaBrecque said.
Because the current payments are delayed, there will be late fees applied by the union, she noted. She said she knows of several other actors in the film— all with similarly small roles— who have not gotten their paychecks.
She said to her, it feels wrong that the film premiered before everyone involved was compensated for the work they put into it.
“It feels wrong to tell [such] a moral story in a way, and have something in the background that’s not morally correct,” LaBrecque told CNA.
Cathy Allyn, co-director and producer of the movie, told CNA that they had placed a $200,000 deposit with SAG to cover any missed payments or other expenses, which is common practice in the film industry.
The missing payments were not caught until the filmmakers completed post-production accounting, at which point it was too late for them to hire a payroll company, Allyn asserted.
Allyn said she signed paperwork “a few weeks ago” to allow SAG to release their deposit to a payroll company, which will pay the actors.
She said the payment issues were likely due to “incomplete paperwork,” that she had apologized to the actors profusely, and that she and her co-producer Nick Loeb have no intention of leaving cast members “hanging.”
She said the filmmakers went through the “appropriate legal avenues” with SAG, and that COVID-19 likely contributed to the delay in the payments.
SAG did not respond by press time Friday to CNA’s request for comment, but released a statement to Los Angeles Magazine on the matter March 3.
“We were finally able to secure a release on the producer’s deposit [from] February 10. We are processing the funds with a payroll company so we can get payments out to performers as quickly as possible,” the statement reads.
“This does not cover all of the claims and we hope that the producer will fulfill its obligations and fully pay all talent,” it concluded.
LaBrecque pushed back on Allyn’s assertion that the actors know what they are owed, stating that she does not have “any idea how much the fees are, or when they will be paid.”
Actors Sherri Eakin and Brent Phillip Henry confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that they, too, have yet to be compensated. They told THR that they have also not yet been given a payment schedule.
CNA encouraged other actors with the same problem to reach out voluntarily, but did not receive any additional reports by press time.
“Roe v. Wade” is set to be available in April on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Among its executive producers is Dr. Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece.
Loeb, a businessman-turned-filmmaker and actor, co-directed, co-produced, and starred in “Roe v. Wade.” He plays the part of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a prolific abortion doctor who later converted to Christianity and became pro-life.
In a Feb. 23 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Loeb said despite the film’s subject matter, it is not a “conservative,” “religious,” or even a “pro-life” film.
Loeb said not all the actors in the film are pro-life, but at least one of the actors— whom he declined to name— converted from pro-choice views to pro-life over the course of filmmaking.
“What we tried to do is really just lay out the facts of how Roe v. Wade came to be and how it was decided. People can take one view or another. I’ve had a lot of people who think it’s in the middle,” he commented to The Hollywood Reporter.
Still, Loeb himself is pro-life and the personal journey of Loeb’s character, Nathanson, is one of pro-life conversion.
“Why some folks may think it’s a conservative film or why it aligns with those views is because the protagonist actually converts. He starts off pro-choice and becomes pro-life through his journey. It’s a true story,” Loeb commented.
Nathanson personally performed an estimated 5,000 abortions and oversaw tens of thousands more, including one on his own pregnant girlfriend in the 1960s.
Nathanson was previously a strong proponent of legalized abortion, and has been accused of inflating statistics on illegal abortions in the U.S. In 1969, he helped to found the lobbying organization now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.
He left the practice of abortion in the early 1970s, and became a Christian and a pro-life activist until his death in 2011.