Hollywood Insider caught up with a soggy Ron Howard (pictured, near l.) — in the rain, munching on cookies — as he picketed alongside fellow Writer’s Guild members in front of the Viacom building in Time’s Square this afternoon. When asked whether Angels & Demons, his follow-up to The DaVinci Code, is being affected by the strike, he said “everything is being affected, and certainly, we’re hoping for the strike to resolve itself sooner rather than later.” Though Howard and Sony both insist that shooting is still slated to begin in February, that could be wishful thinking, given that official talks between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers continue to be at a standstill.
“We’re in pre-production and we have a screenplay [by Akiva Goldsman],” explains Howard, “but it’s always a work in progress.” If the strike carries on through into the new year, Howard could be in a bit of a pinch. The studio will obviously want him to continue work on A&D as the film’s director, but under the Writer’s Guild guidelines, striking members may not perform writing services of any kind, including cutting for times, bridging material, changes in characters, or adjustments in dialogue. Adds Howard: “You have to look at the screenplay and honestly ask yourself, ‘Can this film be fantastic, given the restrictions?’… I’m a union guy so I would only ever operate within those guidelines.” Howard realizes he’s fortunate that it’s still early enough where he and the A&D team haven’t yet had to “look at ourselves in the mirror and ask that key question.”
Additional reporting by Nicole Sperling.