You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Screenwriter Nicholas Kazan Warns: Writers Guild Could Be Torn Apart

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nicholas Kazan has warned that the leaders of the Writers Guild of America may tear apart the union.

Kazan, who is running for the WGA West board, issued the prediction in an email Monday to members following the Aug. 16 announcement that the WGA would start holding tribunals to punish writers who are not following the guild directive to fire agents if the agents have not agreed to follow the WGA’s Code of Conduct — which bans packaging fees and affiliate productions.

“This disaster was both inevitable and avoidable,” Kazan said. “Inevitable once the Guild embarked on its present course…and avoidable if the same legitimate issues had been dealt with in a different, less confrontational and more reasoned, manner. If trials are held and hundreds of writers are punished…or they abandon the Guild to avoid a nasty trial…the WGA will be defanged, its power diminished, and a true union, a remarkable unity of brothers and sisters, will have been torn apart. All from a self-inflicted wound.”

Kazan said that agency practices must change. “I want to help achieve those changes.  Pitting writers against each other won’t do it.  Only genuine sustained negotiation will.  That’s the only thing that will keep us strong and united as we prepare for the more financially vital negotiation – with the AMPTP, in 2020.”

Kazan, who is the father of actress and writer Zoe Kazan and the son of Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan, is part of the WGA Forward Together slate. His group is contending that the WGA needs to get back to the bargaining table after two months of staying away from bargaining. WGA West president David Goodman declared on June 20 that the guild would no longer negotiate with the Association of Talent Agencies and instead hold individual negotiations with nine agencies.

One of those nine, Kaplan Stahler, subsequently signed a deal in which the agency agreed that it would not take packaging fees or engage in affiliate production. Two other mid-size agencies — Verve and Buchwald — have signed agreements with the WGA that ban packaging fees and affiliate production.

The Forward Together slate is headed by Phyllis Nagy, who is challenging Goodman. Nick Jones Jr. is also part of the slate as a candidate for secretary-treasurer, and board candidates Kazan, Jason Fuchs, Ayelet Waldman, Ashley Miller, Sarah Treem, Marc Guggenheim, Courtney Kemp and Rasheed Newson have expressed opposition to Goodman’s approach. Election results will be announced on
Sept. 16.

“My mother was a writer (plays),” Kazan said. “My father was a writer (novels, screenplays).  My older sister is a writer (children’s books).  My brother was a writer (novels, screenplays).   My wife is a writer (screenplays).  Both our daughters are in the WGA…making a total of six of us: immediate family, past and present, in the Guild.  I love writers.  I want to reunite us. I’m running with some very smart, very dedicated people who share my concerns about the Guild and want to change its tactics.”

Kazan, who received an Academy Award nomination for “Reversal of Fortune,” has said the disagreements are dangerous due to the anger, acrimony and the moral veneer that has been cast over what is largely an economic action. Goodman recently brushed off the complaints, noting that with 8,000 working members of the WGA West, unanimity is never a possibility.

“And the fact that there’s some disagreement, or that passions among individual members runs high, does not mean that the Guild is ‘fracturing,'” he added. “In every communication in this difficult campaign to fix a broken agency system, I and the rest of Guild leadership have sought out and encouraged those who dissent; there is nothing wrong with the word, it just means you disagree with the leadership on the strategy and/or goals.”

More Film

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney and Tencent to Put Out New Chinese ‘Star Wars’ Story

    Disney and China’s biggest online publisher, Tencent’s China Literature, have teamed up to develop a new Chinese “Star Wars” online novel and release 40 older e-books in Chinese for the first time. In an attempt to cultivate grass-roots enthusiasm for a franchise that has not yet managed to find a strong foothold in the world’s [...]

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Film Review: 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

    No asteroids are hurtling toward Earth in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” though a flying frozen pizza does softly slice the top off an elderly shopper’s hairdo: That’s roughly the level of quirky peril we’re talking about in the latest outing from Aardman Animations, and as usual, the British stop-motion masters cheerfully prove that [...]

  • Slam

    Film Review: ‘Slam’

    The disappearance of a fearless female Palestinian-Australian slam poet triggers suspense and powerful social and political commentary in “Slam,” an outstanding slow-burn thriller by expat Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (“Sunrise”). Starring Palestinian actor Adam Bakri (“Omar,” “Official Secrets”) as the missing woman’s conflicted brother, and leading Aussie performer Rachael Blake as a troubled cop, Opening [...]

  • Igo Kantor

    Igo Kantor, Producer and Post-Production Executive, Dies at 89

    Igo Kantor, whose Hollywood career took him from Howard Hughes’ projection room to supervising post-production on “Easy Rider” and producing B-movies like “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “Mutant,” died Oct. 15. He was 89. Kantor, who was born in Vienna and raised in Lisbon, met “Dillinger” director Max Nosseck on the ship to New York. [...]

  • The Lion King

    Average Movie Ticket Price Falls 4% in Third Quarter of 2019

    Average ticket prices for the third quarter have dropped 4% to $8.93, down from Q2’s $9.26, the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today. However, compared with the third quarter of 2018, ticket price has risen 1.1% from $8.83. The summer box office is down 2.13% from 2018, though the third quarter box office is [...]

  • Tilda Swinton to Preside Over The

    Tilda Swinton to Preside Over Marrakech Film Festival

    Tilda Swinton, the iconoclastic British actress and producer, is set to preside over the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, succeeding to American director James Gray. Swinton, who won an Oscar and a BAFTA award for best supporting actress for “Michael Clayton,” has been leading an eclectic acting career. She has collaborated with [...]

  • The King Netflix

    Middleburg Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Virginia

    For the last seven years, audiences have flocked to the Middleburg Film Festival. Running October 17th – 21st, and situated in the wine-country hills of historic Middleburg, Virg., the festival usually highlights some of the year’s buzziest titles, and 2019 is no exception. “We’re a smaller festival with fewer overall screenings than other events, so we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content