Just when we thought nothing much had changed in the narcoleptic parallel universe of SAG contract negotiations, we're hearing now that the union's saber-rattlers are finally bringing the heavy weaponry to bear on their studio nemeses: A recent dinner hosting Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty and other influential legends reportedly gave the blessing for a crippling actor's strike. (UPDATE: Not at this meeting, anyway — Sharon Waxman has retracted her original story. More after the jump.)A more formal strike authorization will be sought from SAG's 120,000 members in the weeks ahead, but as Sharon Waxman hinted late Monday, when Hollywood royalty gathers secretly to help drop-kick the industry into another winter of chaos, what's really left to vote on?

They met in the private room of an Italian restaurant, like in a scene from one of the Godfather movies: Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Nick Nolte, Annette Bening — about 20 of Hollywood’s great stars from the past 30 years. ... These top stars were called together last month by Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg to give the thumbs up – or thumbs down – on a strike, according to one person who was present, speaking on condition of anonymity. They were given slips of paper to write down their views as to how or why a strike should or should not occur. Their verdict, according to my source: the guild should move toward a strike. A spokeswoman for SAG said that the guild has had frequent meetings with high-profile actors to discuss a possible strike. "We have met with high profile actors on sets and elsewhere to discuss various issues throughout our negotiations," said Pam Greenwalt. "We do not publicize the meetings nor do we release details."

We've seen them choose sides before and imagine their allegiances/practices haven't shifted much since then. Still, secret meetings? Italian restaurants? Slips of paper? This easily calls for a whole new set of SAG Strike Apocalypse MadLibs™. UPDATE, 11/26: Nikki Finke soundly triumphed in her industry-gossip rematch with Waxman, following up with a report exposing the meeting as a fabrication. Waxman has retracted her story. Anyone up for a Watchmen tussle for these two after the holidays?