1/08/2008

UA Already Reaping Benefits of Side Deal


Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper is reporting that UA wasted no time and has a tentative deal with Paul Haggis to co-write an adaptation of the Ranger's Apprentice series of young-adult adventure novels.

17 comments:

Dave said...

Wow just in the nick of time, I heard Paul was about to have to sell one of the Bentleys...

jimmy said...

There are probably too likely reactions to this:

1) "Oh great, that Paul Haggis certainly needed the help during the strike. There's one for the little guy. Yahoo."

2) "See? When you stop messing around with bullshit tactics with the WGA, you get a jump on your competition. UA just got an Oscar winning writer because, well, no one else had the ability to get him. Are you gonna sit around while your competition gets the best writers available?"

Maybe there's a third one...

B said...

jimmy

A third might be - studios need writers to have good films to develop; writers need studios to develop their good films.

Why don't both sides put their willies back in their pants and settle this strike?

Bartleby said...

2 days after UA signs an interim deal with the WGA and Paul Haggis has a job? Is there something fishy going on here? Is it illogical to assume that Haggis was negotiating with UA during a strike for a job?

Thomas Cunningham said...

Jimmy,

Response #3 would be something along the lines of:

"You think this makes a difference? The WGA has already lost and should take any deal the AMPTP offers and get back to work! You selfish writers only think of yourselves! My cat just had kittens and cat food is expensive and they're gonna repossess my lawnmower, you bastards!

-from BTL & out of work (really, I'm not a studio shill, really.)

Matt said...

I guess this is inevitable with these side deals, and he has as much right to work as anyone, but as a middle class writer, I definitely feel like myself and my peers will not be getting much work as a result of this strategy. And the fact that he seemed to be an out-spoken voice preaching solidarity to the masses doesn't make me feel great either.

makomk said...

Of course, by the time this is actually released, the AMPTP will (hopefully) have agreed a deal with the WGA and they'll be able to invoke it to pay residuals at whatever rate the AMPTP agrees to in the end. At least, that's how I understand it. What they do get is the ability to start filming sooner - it's win-win for them.

(They probably also don't have to worry about the reality TV, animation, subcontracting and fair market value clauses that the AMPTP objects to so loudly. Unlike some of the other AMPTP members, they're not going to be affected by them.)

Ashley Gable said...

Bartleby: Paul Haggis has been one of the people most supportive of the strike. And when I say "supportive" I don't mean bringing donuts the first week and talking a lot about how supportive you are as you return to work on late-night. I mean "supportive" like Paul has picketed every single fucking day -- for EIGHT HOURS A DAY for the first few weeks of the strike. Not to mention the "Speechless" vid he did and other pro-strike projects.

There is no way Paul Haggis would undermine the strike and negotiate with UA until after the interim deal was signed. UA execs probably very intelligently sprinted over to Paul's house as the ink on the WGA deal dried and slept on his doorstep so they could make a deal with him first thing. I would have.

If you were going by "most deserving" instead of "best writer" when deciding who gets the first UA deals, Paul Haggis would _still_ be getting one after two days.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I note that I worked for Paul Haggis several years ago, on "Family Law" on CBS. And he didn't like me that much.)

jimmy said...

bartleby -- it's very possible they wre in talks before the strike. and it's very possible all it took was a phone call. things happen fast.

b - the writers didn't leave the table. the amptp did. if any willies are out it's because the amptp unzipped its fly pretty early and left the writers no choice.

thomas - are you kidding me? you can actually look at this whole issue and determine that the writers are the greedy ones? you either need a calculator or a soul. perhaps both.

brian said...

What are you people talking about? This is GREAT! This is exactly the type of thing that the other studios look at! Headline grabbing news. Sign with us and you get the major writers and major properties ahead of everyone else!

And NO! UA was undoubtedly interested in this property before the strike -- and was talking to Paul Haggis about writing it before the strike -- and signing an interim deal allowed them to proceed. God knows I was about to sign a deal before the strike started and would LOVE the WGA to offer my Producer an interim agreement. But, I'm under no illusions that my deal would grab any headlines at all (until it wins the Oscar).

And as for our fellow unemployed cat owner -- give the AMPTP a call and register a complaint. I'm sick their strike too.

Captain Obvious said...

Don't envy him, congratulate him.

Good to see your pencil is no longer glued to your desk, Paul!

Maybe I'll be right behind you. This script of mine is rather compelling...

Fade In said...

Why would any screenwriter begrudge someone like Haggis from getting a writing gig? Who should be the first writers back? Shouldn't it be whoever is fortunate enough to be get the offer?

The idea is to end the strike and in the process get what the WGA is asking for. If it happens one by one, so be it.

Face facts. Some writers are better than others. Some are more popular than others whether they are that good or not. Some are just plain lucky as dog shit. But the deal with UA is only the beginning.

You should be happy for whoever is back at work and pray (or whatever you do) that you'll be next.

Bartleby said...

jimmy and Ashley,

Its possible I'm too cynical, just as it is possible you're both too naive.

hollarback said...

I doubt most writers will be made with Mr. Haggis. He is A list, so at the top of the demand list. If this was an actors strike and a similar situation developed, Tom Hanks would be snapped up too.

It's nice to see that business can be done if people are willing to bargain. It's a good business decision. The AMPTP could end this today if they would actually sit down and bargain instead of just trying to make the whole town bleed to prove that they are on top.

nick said...

People have to stop blaming the writers.The writers have not lost and if you are Union member in Hollywood or New York you better hope they don't lose. If the amptp gets away with this theft lord knows what they'll steal next. Oh yeah.. the AMPTP is not offering any deal at all. Did you miss the news back in December they walked away.

David Grenier said...

I'm assuming Thomas Cunningham's post was sarcasm.

As far as Haggis signing a deal, you have to understand that outside of Hollywood there are only a few writers that people recognize. Paul Haggis is one. Aaron Sorkin is another. Maybe Judd Apatow (or does he just direct). I can imagine UA wanting to lock up a deal with a writer that can make them the hit movie they need, especially given the unique circumstances.

Thomas Cunningham said...

Yes, David is right Jimmy. My post was clearly sarcasm. Making fun of the trolls and shills who take any news and pretend to be angry BTL workers who blame writers. I thought that was pretty obvious by the absurdity of it. "Catfood is expensive!", "Repossess my lawnmower!" Also, perhaps you may've noticed the WGA strike sign in my photo? I mean, c'mon now!

So, please retract your reprimand. I'm a writer on the side of the writers.