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Monday, November 26, 2007

Hollywood's Finest Are Speechless

Hollywood's Finest Are Speechless
A-list star videos back writers' strike
Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily


Hollywood's Finest Are Speechless

You may or may not have noticed, but there’s a writers’ strike going on at the moment in Hollywood. Kind of a big deal – films being cancelled, TV shows being placed on unplanned hiatuses, movies going into production without really polished scripts etc. etc.

One of the reasons why the Writers Guild Of America and its members are striking is because of internet residuals, or lack thereof. So, in their latest, very creative attempt to raise awareness of the strike, a series of internet-only shorts has been commissioned, and the first three are now available for viewing on Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily.

Entitled ‘Speechless’, the series is the brainchild of George Hickenlooper (director of Factory Girl) and Alan Sereboff (writer of Hickenlooper’s next project, The Red House), and – in perhaps the most convincing show of solidarity yet between the WGA and the Screen Actors’ Guild (who are scheduled to strike next July) – features contributions from some of Hollywood’s finest actors.

So the first three videos, for example, feature Holly Hunter (with a cameo from Hickenlooper), old hands Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss (good to see them again), and Sean Penn. And the rest of the videos will feature the likes of Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Woody Allen, Tim Robbins, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Brolin, and Susan Sarandon, to name but eight.

The original concept was simply to have each star stare at the camera – in stately, moody b&w, of course – in silence for a short while, before holding up a sign saying ‘speechless’. But with talent like that on board, the ideas have expanded and the three shorts up so far are very, very different. And before you ask, the general idea is that each of the shorts is improvised, so in effect nobody’s crossing the picket line here. But then again, these shorts aren’t for profit, so who cares if a little scripting falls through the cracks?

More films will be added over the coming days – for now, they’re available exclusively on Finke’s site, but will be added to the two major strike sites, UnitedHollywood.com and SpeechlessWithoutWriters.com as of Monday.

Click here to watch the Holly Hunter video. Click here for the Paula Prentiss/Richard Benjamin effort. And here’s where you can find Sean Penn, with his campaigning hat on.

Source: EmpireOnline

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