The news that Universal has bumped George Clooney’s period football pic "Leatherheads" into next year to give injured director-star George Clooney time to incorporate additional footage and honor previous commitments rings a little untrue.
With the highly likely news that there will be a major strike from not only the WGA, but also SAG (that is the Writers Guild and Actors Guild) Hollywood must be in panic mode.
The reason for the strike is that both unions’ contracts with the major studios are drawing to a close, and the writers and actors are wanting more moola in their deals, and of course the studios are not wanting to budge.
Why should we all care about this? Well for us movie fans, it could mean that 2009 will a barren wasteland for movies, or at least good movies.
The WGA’s contract ends on October 31st, 2007, so no scripts will get written after this date without guilds approval. For the actors that date is June 30th, 2008 before the strike begins.
Studios are now desperately buying up the rights to anything and everything so that they can get the films into production before March 2008 to have them finished before the contracts end.
There must be immense pressure on star names to make hast decisions when it comes to what to do next. Studios also will rush movies to be made. Both of these outcomes could damage a studio and an actors reputation. A movie is something that should never be rushed, it need care and attention to be a success, but the studios will not think of this.
Actors on the other hand will rush making a decision and end up miscast, or worse yet, giving a half focused performance. Nicole Kidman has four films in various stages of production, all slated for 2008/2009 release. I am sure there will be more added. She is a wonderful example of an actor who at times appears to be stretched too thin to give their all to their characters.
Films like “Leatherheads” and “Stop Loss” have been pushed to 2008.
The hotly Anticipated “Revolutionary Road” (pictured) is currently in post production, and could be finished in time for this years Awards race, but this is unlikely.
The Studios need these movies for Oscar 2009 and they know it. I would not be surprised to see more films being pushed back for a late 2008 release.
There is some hope though. It is a scenario that actually excites me. With the big studios potentially having a sparse slate for 2009, this gives smaller, more interesting films the chance to get their head to the surface and take a big breath, which could lead to better films being made. Here is hoping the need for a post strike pay cheque can lead to writers pushing out fantastic original screenplays in time for the bidding war. Nothing is more inspirational in Hollywood than money remember.