While the WGA picket lines that have become important stops for local tour-bus drivers looking to show visitors to our fine city the stalled dream-making factories where their favorite films and television shows were once made have generally featured enough exciting musical performances, adorable striking babies, and occasional attempted vehicular manslaughters to keep their paying customers entertained, the protests have thus far lacked the A-list star power the public expects from such large-scale Hollywood productions. Today's LAT wonders why the cream of the showbusiness crop has yet to join the pizza-proferring efforts of lesser (read: TV-based) lights in showing solidarity with the WGA's cause:
But where's Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Will Smith and Reese Witherspoon?
They've remained deafeningly neutral, as if they were thinking that if they just stayed still and quiet enough, they could wait everybody out and avoid any partisanship.
"They don't want to be branded hypocrites," muses one manager-producer. "Because they're working on movies that are [in production]. Even if there are no writers working on those movies, it's like they're still kind of crossing picket lines to work on them. . . . I think their publicists, smartly, are telling them to not take a side. Do you really gain much by taking a side?"
Indeed, it's hard to see an upside for Julia-and-Will-level megastars in choosing a side in the ugly fight that's torn the industry asunder over the past months; even if you're banking more than $20 million plus some backend-points per picture and have accumulated a fortune that ensures your family would be financially secure even if the strike lasted into the next century, being called a "hypocrite" would still sting even the sturdiest of performers' egos. It's best, then, to avoid the picket lines entirely, bypassing the possibility that as one rushes off to "pick up some more burritos" for hungry protestors, one might suffer the psychological damage of a cynical WGA member snapping back, "Have fun being a cheap media-conglomerate whore, Reese! Keep filling that content pipeline so that we never get back to work!"