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Last Of Us Writer Weighs In On Hollywood Strikes, Is Confident Labor Will Prevail

Writer Craig Mazin (Chernobyl, The Last of Us) has shared his thoughts on the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, sharing some strong words and stating his belief that the writers will win. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Mazin said the guilds need to “start over with something new” as opposed to trying to tweak the existing setup.

“We have to make some large, sweeping changes, because everything’s broken around us,” Mazin said. “And there’s nowhere else for us to go. Our backs are against the wall as a labor force. We all know writers who have gazillions of dollars. It’s not about them. It’s about the 95 percent of the union who are the rank and file.”

Mazin went on to say that, for a few months, members of the AMPTP–the group that represents film and TV studios like Disney, Netflix, and Amazon–were being “delusional.” The studios believed they could wait out the writers and actors and that would cause them to fight amongst themselves, Mazin said. If that tactic could have worked before, it won’t this time, the writer said.

“This is not like any other negotiation I’ve seen in my 30 years. There’s a zen about it: This sucks, we all hate it, but this is it. Every day that the companies wait to end it [extends] its inevitable conclusion. They’re just costing themselves more money, and I don’t know why when they could just end it today,” Mazin said. “I do think their delusional phase has finally ended, and now we just have to deal with some other issues like fear and pride. This will end, and when it ends, it will end to the satisfaction of the Writers Guild. I am absolutely convinced of that. We have no other choice.”

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This is the first time since 1960 that unions representing writers and actors have been on strike at the same time. The SAG-AFTRA strike began during the London premiere of Oppenheimer, and actors walked out of a screening when the strike was called. The WAG strike began earlier, starting in May.

Writers and actors are seeking, among other things, better pay, viewership-based streaming residuals, and protections against artificial intelligence.

The WGA met with the AMPTP on August 15, and the talks wrapped up with “mixed results,” according to Deadline. There is no word yet when the WGA or SAG-AFTRA will return to the negotiating table with the AMPTP.

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