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'The Riches' writers interrupt shoot

November 15, 2007 |  5:33 pm

Wga_11

Striking writers from the FX show "The Riches" briefly shut down production on their own show this  afternoon. The protesters, led by episode writer Tim Lea and show runner Dmitry Lipkin, delayed the start of a downtown L.A. shoot starring Minnie Driver -- with aid from an unexpected source.

The shoot happened to be across the street from the headquarters of a Service Employees International Union local, and some members of that union wandered out to see what the pickets were about. More than 20 then lent their voices, which were noticeably louder than those of the dozen or so writers.

"I'm gutted this is going on," said Driver, calling herself a "100% supporter" of the Writers Guild. "This is how I feel," she said, running into the street separating the picketers from the production and miming getting pulled by her arms in both directions.

Lea said the goal was to cost the studio money. But the protesters also wanted to explain to production crew members, who belong to other unions, that a writers' victory securing Internet residuals would add to the crew members' pension and health benefits under their contracts.

To avoid angering the crew and possibly getting hit with an injunction barring further pickets, the writers negotiated a deal with the producers that allowed filming to resume 15 minutes after the shouting forced it to stop.

Lea said the resolution made sense because the demonstrators couldn't get into the shot, only make noise that would be dubbed over later by the actors.

More news on the strike

--Joseph Menn