Spielberg Bails on the Beijing Olympics
Will Darfur spoil everything for China?
Really, Sid, these folks have staked their livelihoods, and in some cases forfeited a fortune, in the hope of getting a deal that means something to them. Why would they stop now and say, "OK—we're giving up what leverage we have in holding the fate of the Oscars over ABC's head, because …" Because why?
We refer to a post by writer Joss Whedon on the United Hollywood Web site, which hints that he still feels he has some vampire slaying to do. Speaking of the Oscar telecast, he writes: "[It's] a f%$#ing awards show. It's a vanity fair. It's a blip. We're fighting (fighting, remember?) for the future of our union, our profession, our art. If that fight carries us through the Holy Night when Oscar was born, that's just too bad."
Whedon obviously fears that strike fatigue has reached such a degree that writers will applaud thunderously even if the deal isn't good. He inveighs against that. "This is not over," he writes, perhaps with more hope than reason. "Nor is it close. Until the moment it is over, it can never be close. Because if we see the finish line we will flag and they are absolutely counting on us to do that. … Remember what they've done. Remember what they're trying to take from us. FIGHT. FIGHT. FIGHT."
Keep your ears open on Saturday night. Listen and try to figure out: Is that the sound of thunder, or thunderous applause? (link)
Feb. 6, 2008
Hollywood Likes Obama: We couldn't follow anyone in Hollywood into the voting booth, but we're guessing that the industry's vote mostly belonged to Obama. Nonetheless, California went to Clinton. That had to disappoint David Geffen, who put credence in a late poll showing Obama seven points ahead and predicted victory for him in the state.
Geffen backed Obama early and attacked his erstwhile friend Clinton with ferocity through Maureen Dowd's Times column a year ago. Dowd wrote about that again last Sunday, describing a recent encounter in which Clinton vented her fury to Obama about that interview. (Dowd maintained that Obama knew nothing about it before it was published.)
Among those sticking with Clinton is Geffen's partner at DreamWorks, Steven Spielberg. Apparently Spielberg is isolated in this regard not only at the office but to some degree at home. Obama has captured the imagination of many in Hollywood, and an associate says even Spielberg's support for Hillary seems a bit dutiful at this point. If she emerges as the nominee, of course, industry enthusiasm will follow. (link)
Feb. 5, 2008
Game on? The town's breath is certainly bated with talk of a strike settlement. There are some writers who still fear that this could be a cruel psy-ops effort from the studios. That's a reflection of the deep hostility engendered by the strike and the post-traumatic stress (or is it too soon to say "post"?) suffered by the writers. All of these feelings are real, as the therapists say, but we still believe, as previously predicted, that the strike will settle soon.
Kim Masters is an NPR correspondent and the author of The Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everyone Else.
Photograph of Steven Spielberg by by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images. Photograph of Joss Whedon by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images. Still from 30 Rock by Eric Liebowitz © 2007 NBC Universal, Inc. Photograph of David Geffen and Bill Clinton by Stephen Jaffe/AFP Photo.