Guild pulls plug on stoppage waivers
Beleaguered Screen Actors Guild national exec director Doug Allen isn’t backing down and has blasted the moderate wing of the guild’s national board, which nearly fired him a week ago.Allen blamed the moderates — who had the votes to toss the SAG topper out but were barred, in a 30-hour filibuster, from doing so — for having compromised his strike strategy. He said he’ll send out the divisive strike authorization vote if the national board doesn’t agree with his proposed compromise to make a last-ditch run at persuading the congloms to sweeten terms of their final offer. “Although I believe giving the national board the authorization to determine whether or not to call a strike is our best strategy, that strategy has been severely compromised by the division of a now deeply and publicly split national board leadership,” Allen said in an extraordinary message sent Sunday to SAG’s 110,000 members. Allen’s proposed compromise, unveiled in a letter to the board the day after the bizarre no-action board meeting, calls for sending out the final offer without a recommendation from the SAG board. The gambit’s already drawn derision from the moderate leaders, who contend that Allen bungled the negotiations and say they have no confidence in him. The moderates have indicated they plan to round up the necessary support among the majority of the board to approve their three-part resolution to dismiss Allen, replace the negotiating committee and stop the strike authorization. Allen included his compromise proposal in the message to members. He didn’t indicate how soon he’d send out the strike authorization. The weekend also saw SAG pull the plug on waivers to indie film producers that would allow production to continue if there’s a work stoppage — a scenario that’s become less likely in recent months as a souring economy convinced growing numbers of guild members that a strike would not be a viable option. SAG made the brief announcement Friday evening, suspending a program that’s covered more than 800 productions in about a year. The so-called guaranteed completion contracts provide for a producer to be allowed to continue shooting if a work stoppage occurs in exchange for agreeing to observe the terms of whatever new deal SAG negotiates with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. “Screen Actors Guild today announced that in light of the more than 800 productions signed to guaranteed completion contracts, SAG’s national board of directors has determined that the GCCs have served their purpose and has decided to discontinue offering GCCs,” the announcement said. “Screen Actors Guild will continue signing independent productions to the terms of the 2005 Codified Basic Agreement for Independent Producers.” The waivers were granted solely to non-AMPTP companies. Some of the high-profile projects covered by the waivers included Oliver Stone’s George W. Bush drama “W.,” which was released in October with Moritz Borman producing and financing from Bill Block and Jon Kilik. Other notable projects with waivers include the following:
- “Edge of Darkness,” directed by Martin Campbell and starring Mel Gibson. Graham King’s GK Films is financing. William Monahan wrote the script.
- “My One and Only,” starring Renee Zellweger and Chris Noth, and directed by Richard Loncraine. Raygun Prods., Artfire Films and Merv Griffin Entertainment are producing.
- “Big Eyes,” with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski directing. Kate Hudson and Thomas Haden Church star. Bona Fide Pictures’ Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa are producing.
- “Labor Pains,” with Lara Shapiro directing a Capitol Films castoff in which Lindsay Lohan stars. Avi Lerner’s Nu Image/Millennium and Overnight are producing.
- “Pandorum,” starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster and directed by Christian Alvart. Overture and Constantine are producing.
- “Bad Lieutenant,” starring Nicolas Cage. Werner Herzog is directing, and Edward R. Pressman and Emmett are producing; Nu Image/Millennium Films is financing.
- “Killing Pablo,” with Joe Carnahan directing and Bob Yari producing.
- “Brooklyn’s Finest,” with Antoine Fuqua directing Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle. Nu Image/Millennium’s financing.
- Nine pics from the Film Dept., including Bart Freundlich’s romantic comedy “The Rebound,” starring Catherine Zeta-Jones; “Law-Abiding Citizen,” starring Gerard Butler; and “Brothers in Arms,” directed by Marcel Langenegger.
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!