Hollywood Writers’ Strike: Patricia Arquette Expresses Support After TV And Film Writers Quit | Ent & Arts News

Actress Patricia Arquette told Sky News she understands why TV and film writers in the US are on strike for the first time in 15 years.

The star was speaking while promoting her upcoming show High Desert, which she executive produced and also stars in.

Earlier this week, an estimated 11,500 Writers Guild of America (WGA) members had their jobs stopped due to a dispute over fair pay in the streaming age.

Patricia Arquette is the protagonist of High Desert.  Pictured: Apple TV+
Patricia Arquette is the protagonist of High Desert. Pictured: Apple TV+

Negotiations between the Hollywood writers and the studios began in March, but they couldn’t reach a new contract before the current deal expired.

Arquette, best known for films including True Romance and Stigmata, and more recently for the Apple TV+ series Severance, told Sky News she sympathized with their cause.

“I love writers and understand what they’re fighting for,” she said. “Every time we roll around, there’s a new kind of streaming service, or I remember when video came along and then it was DVDs and cable television, all these different kinds of things; it’s very hard like union keep up and see where it’s going.

“And it’s hard for writers to make a living, especially being locked into exclusive contracts. They may only have a few episodes and it’s hard for them to make a living. So really, I don’t know where to be without writers as an actor, they’re the start and make a big contribution.”

Her High Desert co-star Matt Dillon agreed.

“The business is constantly evolving,” he said. “Adjustments need to be made, you know, [it] it must be right. And I think that’s what it’s about and it’s going to work out in the end.”

The comedy series – about a drug addict who starts over as a private investigator after his mother’s death – is directed by Jay Roach, whose previous credits include the series Austin Powers, Meet The Parents and Bombshell.

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Cynthia Nixon joins the New York protest

Roach, who is himself a member of the WGA, said: “I always have writers involved in my shows, even when I’m directing and not writing. They’re always beside me on the monitors and in prep, they’re in casting and post too.” and in marketing I like to involve screenwriters.

“No one craves a strike, but I’m so happy to say that writers are where it starts — and if we can help create an environment that supports and nurtures that culture, those things are worth fighting for and sadly, you know, potentially worth the worth hitting, so I’m very pro-writers.”

To know more:
Why do Hollywood writers go on strike?
The making of All Quiet on the Western Front

Josh Gad and Cynthia Nixon are among the stars who have publicly shown their support for the strike.

The impact is already being felt in the United States, where late night talk shows are not on the air. Daytime soap operas may be next to go on hiatus, since they’re traditionally written not long before they’re filmed.

The WGA is calling for higher minimum pay, more writers per show and less exclusivity on individual projects, saying the industry has been squeezed and conditions have worsened due to the boom in streaming.

The latest withdrawal in 2007 and 2008 lasted 100 days and cost the California economy an estimated $2.1bn (£1.68bn).

“Is It Really Feast or Famine”

Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson and Edward Berger receive Adapted Screenplay Award for All Quiet on the Western Front
Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson and Edward Berger on stage at the BAFTAs, accepting the award for adapted screenplay for All Quiet On The Western Front

All Quiet On The Western Front screenwriter Lesley Paterson has also expressed support for those who strike, describing them as “underpaid and outcasts”.

He told Sky News: “As the streaming industry has developed and progressed, everything has changed, so the current situation is not the same and things need to be negotiated and put right.

“The reality is very, very hard. You go from one concert to another and often propose many projects, devoting a lot of time and research, and you don’t get paid for it.

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Josh Gad: ‘We are nothing without their words’

“So when you get a gig, maybe the gig is three months or six months, and then you’re trying to find the next one. So it’s really feast or famine. And with wages going down for writers and pay less and less, it’s getting harder and harder.”

The German-language anti-war epic All Quiet On The Western Front was one of the big winners of the 2023 awards season, picking up four Oscars and seven BAFTAs, including best picture.

Scottish-born triathlete and director Paterson secured the rights to the novel for film adaptation 17 years ago with producer Ian Stokell, and has spent years campaigning for it to be made.

“I think everyone is really united because we’re not going to move on a lot of these points,” he said. “We’ve been taken advantage of and as a result unfortunately I think it could go on for a while.”

Earlier this week, Deadline reported that British writer Jack Thorne, whose credits include the BBC’s His Dark Materials and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End, had halted work on two projects in solidarity with the strikers.

High Desert will debut on Apple TV+ with the first three episodes on May 17


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