By Claudia Eller
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 11, 2008
The agreement mirrors the pacts the union recently signed with United Artists -- an independent company controlled by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner -- and with David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants Inc.
Such deals allow companies to hire union writers for their movie and television projects during the strike, which has been underway since early November.
Weinstein and others who have signed these deals hope the action will help push the studios and writers back to the negotiating table. "It's important for the business to get the ball rolling and get back to work," said Weinstein, who with his brother, Bob, launched Weinstein Co. in 2005.
The studios broke off negotiations with the writers in early December and have made no attempt to restart talks.
There is no indication any of the major studios plan to break from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and sign similar side deals with the guild. Absent such a departure by one of the big players, these interim agreements are unlikely to have much influence in ending the strike, industry executives say.
Weinstein Co. has one movie that could immediately benefit from the interim deal, which had been expected. Right before the strike began, writer-director Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient," "Cold Mountain") had begun a rewrite of a script for director Rob Marshall's planned screen version of the stage musical "Nine." The interim deal will allow him to continue the rewrite. The film is expected to go into production this year.
As previously reported, the WGA is also in talks with other independent companies, including Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
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