The WGA strike situation “doesn’t look good right now,” producer-director-writer Judd Apatow tells the Toronto Star‘s Peter Howell. “I think if you look at what is being offered by the studios, it doesn’t look like they want it to end. I mean, it’s clear they want this strike to continue.
“It would cost very little money to end the strike and [the producers] are basically trying to create a way of paying people so that when the internet explodes, they’ll wind up paying less than they do now to writers. And I don’t think they’re going to get away with it.”
Now, that‘s a gulf and a half. The writers aren’t satisfied with current status quo arrangements and want more, but the producers, to hear it from the well-positioned Apatow, are not only opposed to this but want to pay writers less, in a future-tense sense, than what they’re currently getting.
“The writers really failed to stand up for themselves with the DVD (in a previous contract dispute) and they feel terrible about it,” Apatow continues, “and enough of them will not give up [meaning that the strike] will have to be resolved in a reasonably fair manner.”
Except that the vast majority of heavyweight producers and studio chiefs stopped believing in “fair” when they were 13 years old. Accepting the basic unfairness and occasional brutality of life and adjusting their game plan accordingly is how they came to be big alphas in the first place. “Fair?,” says Peter O’Toole to Jack Hawkins in Lawrence of Arabia as they discuss the campaign to capture Damascus. “What’s ‘fair’ got to do with it? It’s going to happen.”