Welcome to the 19th installment of Deadline’s Strike Talk podcast. It is a task Oscar-nominated filmmaker Billy Ray took on at the beginning of the Writers Guild strike against AMPTP, and who knew he would be engaged in it longer than it would have taken him to shoot a picture.
Today, Ray presses on the theme of the “Pyrrhic victory,” so named for King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose lust for power brought victories in war that so cost his troops that they could only be considered losses. This culminated in his battles to defeat Rome, which became his undoing. Ray likens this to the current strike and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ unwillingness to recognize that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA aren’t caving in this point of inflection, and that they had better return to the table with deals that reflect the tectonic shifts in tech and streaming, and provide for the future of the art form.
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It is a critical moment; Warner Bros just suspended the deals of some of its most valued show creators including Greg Berlanti, Mindy Kaling and JJ Abrams, as the company’s well-paid chief David Zaslav detailed that the strikes have cost the studio $500 million so far. Film workers are struggling to hang on after a quarter year of unemployment, and the fall film festivals that launch awards season are largely being conducted without stars.
Joining Ray today are Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), chair of the House Ethics Committee, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the senior U.S. senator from Ohio and chair of the Senate Banking Committee. They discuss the labor movement in this country, and how it relates to the current stalemate that has ground Hollywood to a halt.
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