American director Judd Apatow has revealed in a new interview that he thinks Hollywood studios have been planning for a writers’ strike “for years” and that the studios know when the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike will end.
Speaking to Variety on Saturday (May 6), Apatow shared that he thinks the ongoing strike is a calculated business move on the part of Hollywood studios, who were unwilling to meet the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) demands.
“I think they probably already know what they’re going to bend on,” Apatow said. “I would assume they already know what date this is going to end. They’ve probably been planning this for years.”
“I always think that whatever happens, they could have figured it out already. When these things conclude, you never go, ‘I understand why it took that long.’ It’s never something so inventive, and groundbreaking, that you think, ‘Oh, people needed to go to war for months over it.’ It’s always a very obvious position. So that’s what’s scary about it is that there is a solution but I’m not sure that all of the business interests are interested in getting to it quickly.”
Apatow also addressed studios’ treatment of writers, saying: “We’re like Twitter’s employees, that if they want to save money, they just get rid of 80 percent of the workforce. That’s why it’s an existential problem. If the ecosystem of writers doesn’t exist, no one will learn how to do it. No one will be able to survive doing it. And then everyone will go, ‘Well, maybe I’ll write video games, maybe I’ll make TikToks at home and become an influencer.’ It’s a lot of creative people who can do other things. So you don’t want the whole system to collapse.”
Speaking on studios’ refusal to pay writers more, Apatow said: “We have a system now that that does not reward success for a lot of these projects. If you make something and a billion people watch it, you don’t make more money than if it was a disaster, right? That’s not good for creativity because it takes away a lot of the motivation for the creative people, because people work really hard to create some sort of cushion for their lives.”
Since the writers strike was announced last week, several programmes include Saturday Night Live and late-night talk shows presented by Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert have gone dark, and are currently airing past episodes. Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers have since stepped up to personally pay their staff salaries for the third week of the strike.
On May 6, Matt and Ross Duffer (aka the Duffer Brothers) announced on Twitter that it’s “not possible” for production on Stranger Things to go ahead currently. They also threw their weight behind the strike. “Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we’re excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike,” they wrote.
Elsewhere, Marvel Studios has paused production again on the upcoming reboot of Blade due to the strike.