Strike Watch

By Gillian Flynn
Updated July 20, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

After war comes not peace but…vacation. Now that the two actors’ unions have averted a strike by forging a tentative three-year deal with the studios, you’d think Hollywood would be buzzing with stalled productions, right? Wrong. Aside from projects that had planned to shoot around a walkout, like the Wachowski brothers’ The Matrix 2 and 3, the film industry is in Lull-Lull Land. ”It’s dead,” says Matt Kimbrough, a Screen Actors Guild negotiator who played Julia Roberts’ bartender in Erin Brockovich. ”We were joking there’s nothing to go on strike against since there’s no work.” No joke: Most studios are idling after all the films greenlit in the prestrike hysteria. Universal has no new filming scheduled until an untitled Eminem flick starts in September — and that, for some studios, will be early. ”Things won’t pick up to the level we’re used to until next year,” predicts one studio exec. ”We’ve got a lot of films.” While many doubt the quality of this rushed filmmaking, one industryite is encouraged: ”In some cases, the frenzy means the product may be more what came out of the writer and director’s heads.” Hmm. Maybe SAG should consider striking every year.