The Writers Guild of America, on strike for more than a month, targeted a second metro Atlanta project last week: “Bad Boys 4″ at OFS in Norcross.
On Thursday and Friday, WGA brought protesters to seven different studio entrances, mostly two or three people at each spot for several hours.
Atlanta-based WGA writers such as Brian Egeston and Lamont Ferrell on Friday were joined by a bevy of reps from other unions such as SAG-AFTRA and IATSE to help bolster their numbers.
On Wednesday, protesters shut down the new Peacock series “Hysteria!” starring Julie Bowen and Bruce Campbell for a day at Cinelease Studios in Covington because unions wouldn’t cross the picket line.
“The support we’ve gotten is incredible,” said Egeston, who wrote the recent Dennis Quaid Amazon movie “On a Wing and a Prayer.”
Drama writer Thomas Smuts (”Mad Men,” “Bosch,” “Law & Order”), who flew in as a WGA representative from Los Angeles, said he was happy to see so much cooperation from unionized workers refusing to cross picket lines, forcing several TV shows and movies to shut down for a day or two.
So far, WGA has temporarily shut down production of shows in Los Angeles and Albuquerque with protests. Smuts said they are getting more cooperation from other unions than they did during the 100-day 2007-08 writers strike.
Smuts said he was unclear what impact this particular protest has had on Sony’s “Bad Boys 4″ starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. “This is a difficult place to tell what’s happening,” Smuts said Friday afternoon right off Crescent Drive parallel to I-85 just south of Jimmy Carter Boulevard. (Sony did not respond to a request for comment.)
WGA and its 11,000 members are asking producers for more pay protections when producers use fewer writers, a better pay system than the current residual set up for streaming shows and explicit protections regarding the rise in artificial intelligence.
The strike began in early May when The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), which represents the movie and TV studios and streamers, failed to come to a deal with WGA. It has since been negotiating a new three-year contract with the Directors Guild of America. DGA on late Saturday came to a tentative agreement with the producers that addresses some of the same issues as the writers.
The producer are now set to start negotiating on Wednesday with SAG-AFTRA. That union’s contract expires June 30. Only once the actors deal is signed (or not) will MPPDA get back to talking to the writers, who have some issues specific to them including the recent rise in “mini rooms,” which require fewer writers than the normal set up for scripted shows. Writers want more job security and staffing minimums for writers’ rooms, which producers are resisting.
Streaming service BLK PRIME announced a casting call for its original scripted series “SUGE” chronicling the life of Suge Knight and Death Row Records.
The streaming service dedicated to multicultural content will do casting in Atlanta June 10 as well as dates in Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles and Oakland, California.
BLK PRIME is seeking fresh talent to play Suge Knight, Tupac Shakur, Kurupt, Eazy-E, and the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige.
“This is not only about creating a compelling series,” said Lauren Pearson, vice president of business affairs for BLK PRIME in a press release. ““It’s about giving opportunities to new voices and talents, about representing diverse faces on screen, and about creating an authentic narrative that respects and honors the history of hip-hop.”
Casting dates and locations are as follows:
- Baltimore: June 6 (La Chow, 210 S. Central Ave.)
- New York: June 8 (The Residence Inn by Marriott Times Square Hotel, 1033 6th Ave.)
- Atlanta: June 10 (Courtyard Marriott downtown, 133 Carnegie Way NW)
- Los Angeles: June 13 (CEO Studios, 801 Mateo St.)
- Oakland: June 16 (City Center Marriott, 1001 Broadway)
For specific casting locations and times, visit the BLK PRIME website: casting.blkprime.com.