Ruben Östlund hopes that the movement, which promises to be long-term, will succeed. Actor Paul Dano will join the demonstrations as soon as he returns from the Croisette.
Out of sight but not out of mind. Based on the Croisette for a dozen days, actor-director-author Paul Dano (The Fabelmans) and member of the jury awarding the palme d’or gave his unconditional support to the writers’ strike which is shutting down Hollywood.
“My wife is picketing with our six month old baby clinging to her chest and I will join them when I leave here“, promised the 39-year-old actor, companion to the city of the actress and screenwriter Zoe Kazan (She Said). This firm and sentimental response earned Paul Dano thunderous applause on Tuesday afternoon in the press room.
The president of the jury, the twice palmed Swedish director Ruben Östlund, was not left out. “I think it’s great that people have a collective feeling strong enough to be able to go on strike“, declared the maestro of Without filter And The Square. “This is how you can change your working conditions. I’m definitely… Yes, go for it!“, insisted the one who regularly defines himself as”Marxist“.
Read alsoRuben Östlund is not afraid of the demonstrations which have been part of the Cannes “tradition” since May-68
The double disruption of streaming and artificial intelligence
Thousands of American television and film screenwriters belonging to the Screenwriters Guild (WGA) began a strike action on May 2 due to the failure of negotiations with the main studios and platforms to raise their salaries and minimum guarantees to benefit from a stable job. Not to mention a greater share of the profits generated by the rise of streaming. They also call for a framework for the use of artificial intelligence to develop scenarios.
On the small screen side, the number of episodes per season has drastically melted. The dominant model of 22 parts per year is becoming rare, supplanted by miniseries of 8 to 10 episodes. The contracts are shorter, the writing rooms reduced to their bare minimum. Less experienced members are no longer invited to oversee shoots, which was the best way to move up the ranks and eventually aim for a showrunner position.
The studios seem to fear a long strike
The most immediate impact of this social movement, which prohibits any work on a script being developed and any retouching on a scenario already in the making, was felt on American talk shows and entertainment programs at skit like “Saturday Night Live”. Several ceremonies, including the Tony awards (the American equivalent of our Molières), have canceled their award ceremony. All pre-production series are on hold. Like the iconic Stranger Things. Its creators, the Duffer brothers, have announced that the filming of the final season, scheduled for June, has been postponed indefinitely and will not resume until the end of the strike.
If the strike continues this summer, the long-term effects will be palpable on fiction and films that should have been released at the end of the year. A sign that the studios are expecting a long-term showdown, the ABC channel has unveiled a back-to-school schedule with no series and has filled the boxes with reality TV. The return of the network’s flagship sagas such as Grey’s Anatomy is postponed to January 2024. If confirmed, this means a truncated and shortened season for its authors and actors.
The movement of the WGA arouses for the moment a relative unity. The actors via their union -the SAG- also participate in the rallies and bring food and refreshments to the scriptwriters who demonstrate daily in front of the studios. It must be said that the SAG will renegotiate its contract with the studios and the producers in just a few weeks, on July 7, and is closely monitoring the progress that the WGA could pull off. The directors’ guild (DGA) entered into negotiations a few days ago. Would there be a snowball effect? Or, on the contrary, will the studios and the producers succeed in avoiding a sacred union?
The last social movement of magnitude in Hollywood was already the fact of the screenwriters who had paralyzed the American audiovisual industry in 2007-2008. The 100-day strike had cost the sector two billion dollars. And condemned to an early death or weakens a number of promising soap operas (Heroes, Pushing Daisies) and stripped of their substance and coherence some of the most anticipated blockbusters: such Quantum Of Solacethe second James Bond worn by Daniel Craig.