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007 given licence to shoot during UK actors strike

The next James Bond movie has been cleared to shoot as planned in January after its producer Eon Productions agreed to givemembers of UK actors union Equity a three per cent royalty payment from video and DVD sales worldwide.

The deal, which kicks in after thefilm's producers have recouped 30% of its budget from video and DVD sales, is the latest in a string of emergency waiver pacts Equity has struck with producers after calling on the 36,000 UK actors that make up itsmembership to refuse to work on any movie after Dec 1st.

The union, which is seeking additionalrevenue payments for its members similar to the system of residuals granted to its US counterpart, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), is still negotiating a permanent settlement with the UK producers' representative body PACT. At themoment, British actors receive a flat fee for their performances even if the films they work on become a huge success in the various ancillary markets.

The 20th 007 instalment is due to startfilming at Pinewood Studios near London in January. Halle Berry has been tippedto play the femme fatale opposite Pierce Brosnan as Bond (assuming that she isable to fit the film's schedule in with her prior commitment to the X-Men sequel).

Other films that have managed to agreeinterim deals with Equity allowing them to shoot during the dispute include thefirst two Harry Potter films. The deal with Warner Bros will give performers additional payments linked to the film's success, but Equity will not reveal further details after signing a confidentiality agreement.

Others productions agreeing to makeadditional payments include Dirty Pretty Things, The Heart Of Me, Principles Of Lust, Two Men Went To War and Conspiracy of Silence. But production on as many as 17 other films is said to have stalled pending a resolution with Equity.

On most independent productions, theagreements promise a percentage of income from all sources once the initial investment in the film has been recouped. Studio titles are expected to give away three per cent of gross receipts from sales of videos and DVDs, in linewith SAG's agreement.

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