WGA members on strike in Hollywood

Source: Screendaily / Jeremy Kay

WGA members on strike in Hollywood

As the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike approaches its fourth week with no sign of a resolution, the effects of the labour dispute are being felt across the US. 

This week, Marvel Studios’ Thunderbolts became the latest major feature affected by the stoppage. The superhero story, with Florence Pugh set to star, has had its scheduled mid-June start in Atlanta, Georgia postponed until the end of the strike, according to reports. 

Joining the growing list of TV projects affected, J J Abrams thriller series Duster, for streamer HBO Max (now rebranded as Max), had its shoot in New Mexico shut down until the strike ends after temporary delays caused by set workers’ refusal to cross WGA picket lines. 

In California, shooting on the second season of Jeff Bridges drama series The Old Man, for FX, has also been suspended until the strike’s resolution. 

Meanwhile the California Film Commission (CFC) has confirmed that half of the 46 projects set to begin shooting in the next six months under the state’s tax incentive programme have applied for ‘force majeure’ waivers that would allow them to delay start dates while retaining their incentives. Waivers can be granted for a number of reasons, including “labour stoppage.” 

The commission’s next allocation period for incentives to television series shooting in California is due to begin on June 5 but “may be delayed until the strike is resolved,” according to the CFC website. 

Also in California, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said it has canceled its Television Academy Honors ceremony, set for May 31. The cancellation comes, said the Academy, “After discussions with the WGA and out of deference to those impacted by the ongoing labour dispute.” The Television Academy Honors are awarded to TV projects that “fuel social change,” with this year’s recipients including Amazon’s As We See It and Netflix series Mo

WGA picket lines around the country were this week visited by stars and representatives of other industry guilds. In New York, Colin Farrell, whose upcoming Max series The Penguin has been among projects hit by temporary strike-related shutdowns, appeared at a WGA rally. 

And in Los Angeles, Producers Guild of America (PGA) president Stephanie Allain appeared with WGA president Meredith Stiehm on a picket “in solidarity with striking writers,” according to the PGA, which is not related to the studios and streamers negotiating body the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). 

The next major strike development could be the June 5 deadline for SAG-AFTRA members to vote on a strike authorisation ahead of the start of their guild’s contract talks with the AMPTP on June 7. The current SAG-AFTRA contract expires on June 30. 

AMPTP talks with the Directors Guild of America, whose contract also expires on June 30, are currently in progress under a media blackout.