U.K. stands up for U.S. writers

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus with the writers of her current show, "The New Adventures Of Old Christine," outside the set of "Desperate Housewives" in Los Angeles, California.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Doug Krizner: It's day five of the film and TV writers' strike. California Governor Schwarzenegger is concerned about the economic impact. He's had behind-the-scene talks with both sides. Meantime, in London, the grapevine is buzzing about U.S. producers scouting for non-union writers in the U.K.

Let's bring in Adam Dawtrey from Variety in London. Adam, you're reporting these writers would work on projects funneled through British production companies. This doesn't appear to break any rules.

Adam Dawtrey: Well, the fact is it's entirely legal, and indeed legitimate and normal. American producers produce films out of the U.K., often with British partners, and those films are typically almost always non-WGA films.

Krizner: So having said that, is anyone in the U.K. asking these writers or advising them to exercise a bit of caution if they're in fact approached?

Dawtrey: Yes, absolutely. I think, certainly in these very early days of the strike, when things are very uncertain, there are a lot of people taking legal advice. And nobody wants to make a mistake. The interesting question might be if the strike drags on in a month, two months, three months' time, you know, how long writers anywhere are expected to sit on their hands when they're being offered perfectly legitimate deals? If they're being asked to turn these sort of offers down, they're being asked, effectively, to go on strike for a union that they're not members of, and whose terms they don't benefit from.

Krizner: But if they were to do something in the future that would give them the opportunity to join the writers' union, that might put them in a difficult situation then, I would imagine.

Dawtrey: Absolutely. I mean, I think that's the big fear. If you're a non-WGA writer in the U.K., your fear would be that if you worked on a film that was somehow perceived by the WGA to be strike-breaking, that when you came to apply to the WGA some time in the future, you would find yourself black-balled.

Krizner: Adam Dawtrey is a writer with Variety in London. Adam, thanks so much for speaking with us.

Dawtrey: My pleasure.

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