Everywhere we've been around the LA Film Festival this week, the chatter du jour is either oversexed studio minions or how folks plan to spend their off-days during the increasingly inevitable-looking SAG strike. The latter conflict came into even sharper relief today in Variety, which published a SAG-AFTRA Bullshit Scorecard (hardly an improvement over our SAG Strike Mad Libs™, but whatever) breaking down the lies, celebrity endorsees and various other spin the unions are wielding in their steel-cage labor war:
As SAG begins its 38th day of negotiations with the majors today, the pro-AFTRA forces have added Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey to their list of several hundred endorsers, led by Tom Hanks and Sally Field. ...
SAG announced Tuesday it had added high-profile supporters including Jack Nicholson, Ben Stiller, Josh Brolin, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Viggo Mortensen, Nick Nolte and Martin Sheen. It's also amped up its PR campaign via print ads.
The SAG-AFTRA brawling also raises the key question of clout. SAG has blasted the notion of the AFTRA deal serving as a template, because AFTRA's last primetime contract generated $40 million for members while SAG's last three-year feature-primetime pact generated $4 billion over the same period. Observers say the argument makes little sense, because SAG has so many more members working in the primetime and film arena.
Elsewhere in the paper, the AMPTP gets the backhanded benefit of the doubt: "Studios could stop haggling over pennies, but that's sort of like telling an insurance company to quit low-balling you. That's just what they do — relying on any sane person to give up first." Which suggests to us there's only one solution — a fun, unscripted, winner-take-all slugfest that would conveniently circumvent any potential work stoppage following AFTRA's ratification vote next month: Ladies and gentlemen, let's play the Feud!