Hollywood Strike Update

It's not looking good for Hollywood film & TV production right now. As the deadline for a contract between writers and the studios and producers nears, November 1 could mean it's strike time.

Currently, writers and studios are trying to beat the Halloween night deadline, by re-writing ("flipping") scripts, so they can go before cameras without story problems.

This goes back and forth so much that I can't do an update without having to do another update shortly thereafter, so I'll give you another one tomorrow, especially if a last-minute, 11th hour deal is reached.

So far, a federal mediator has met with both sides (Writers Guild of America, the WGA and the studios and producers), and a deal will hopefully be hammered out. Again, it may come down to the 11th hour, but if a deal isn't reached studios can't have scripts re-written after the fact.

I've talked to a friend in L.A. who has told me studios and producers aren't even buying or optioning new scripts or properties, like an adaptation of an existing work (comics, books, etc.). But if the strike is called off, you bet the purchasing and optioning will begin again.

If a strike happens, I hear it could start immediately on November 1st, or as late as the holidays, which could put more pressure on studios and producers since that'll eat into their vacations. Trust me, Hollywood all but shuts down around that time of year. The strike could potentially last up to 3-6 months, and if it bleeds into next summer it may also affect a potential strike by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and/or the Directors Guild of America (DGA).

From what I understand, studios have enough TV scripts to get them through until February and I hear there won't be any issues with 24 or Lost, which return in January. I'd hate to see many of our favorite shows (especially serials like Heroes) end three months early in February, though I hear that producers may already have scripts. Sigh...

Here is a list of scripts that will hopefully be "flipped," ie, written to be filmed (trust me, a bought or commissioned screenplay needs a lot of work), by the November 1st deadline:

1. G.I. Joe (by the way, Jason Statham denies being considered for a role, and I doubt George Clooney will join the cast)

2. Wolverine (production was moved up to November, then back to January)

3. Justice League

4. X-Files 2 (rumored to go before cameras in mid-December 2007)

There are many others, but those are the ones that stand out to me. Anyway, I'll update again tomorrow and probably Thursday 11/1. Also, there's a tropical storm near Florida, and if it turns west, I may not be able to update. Vic will handle it.

I personally hope a deal can be reached. But one has to wonder, even with major writers trying to get scripts ready for production, no on-set re-writes can happen. I'm worried about the quality...

Sources: Superhero Hype!, Entertainment Weekly, which has a short article that lists what's at stake and more.

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