United Artists, the independent arm of MGM revived in 2006 and run by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, has agreed with the striking Writers Guild of America to an interim deal that would allow writers to go back to work on the studio’s movie projects. In a statement, WGA West president Patric Verrone said, ”United Artists has lived up to its name…. We have a deal that will put people back to work.” Wagner added that the deal ”makes good business sense for United Artists.”
The pact is similar to the one the WGA made with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which allowed the writing staffs of Letterman’s The Late Show and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson to return to work; it would not, however, cover UA’s parent MGM. A WGA source told Variety that several other indies are engaged in some level of negotiations for interim deals. However, negotiations between the WGA and the group that represents the majors, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, have not commenced since talks broke down Dec. 7.
The new UA’s first movie, Lions for Lambs, was a box office disappointment; its World War II film Valkyrie, also starring Cruise, opens later this year. One UA project that may pick up steam again now that an agreement is in place: Oliver Stone’s My Lai Massacre project, Pinkville, which stopped production in mid-November (UA said at the time a script rewrite was needed to proceed). (Variety)