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Directors urged to delay their own guild talks

December 6, 2007 | 10:21 pm


More than 300 writers who are also directors are urging Directors Guild of America leaders to hold off for now their own contract talks with the studios while Hollywood’s striking writers are engaged in their delicate negotiations.

The writer-directors are seeking to block any gambit by the studios to undermine writers by first reaching a new contract with the DGA.

The group, most of whom belong to the Writers Guild of America, made their request in a letter that was hand delivered Thursday to DGA officials. It was signed by some of the biggest names in the business, including brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, Ed Zwick, Lawrence Kasdan and Sean Penn. Writer-directors represent a minority of the DGA’s 13,400 members.

Although their contract doesn’t expire until June 30, directors, as is their custom, have begun preparing for early talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group that represents the studios. The DGA has been preparing for talks with the studios for months, and on Thursday held its fourth negotiating committee meeting. But so far the directors have held off discussions in deference to the writers.

The letter, addressed to guild DGA President Michael Apted, negotiating committee Chairman Gilbert Cates, and national Executive Director Jay Roth stated: "What we are asking is that the DGA not engage in contract talks with studios at this crucial time. We believe such talks would undermine the efforts of our creative partners. We all have a stake in this."  Read more

More news on the strike

--Richard Verrier and Claudia Eller