AP Photo/Reed Saxon
"Don't be greedy! Don't be petty! You won't get your Ugly Betty!"
This was the sentiment being shouted outside the gates of Raleigh Studios—where Ugly Betty tapes—yesterday afternoon, when the cast of the show gathered to join their writers in protest and proclaim solidarity. (Get the latest writers' strike details in our news story, and keep checking back for more.)
“The issues coming up with the actors’ contracts are very similar to what the writers are dealing with right now, and we have to stay united and stand strong within the creative community for what we believe is fair,” said America Fererra.
“I’ve heard a lot of stuff about the writers getting flack because they’re greedy or because they want too much. And the truth is that these are honest, hardworking people, and they’re not all rolling in dough. They deserve compensation for the wonderful work they bring to the table.”
While many of our favorite series around town have already shut down production, Ugly Betty is still up and running. The writers were able to lock a couple of extra scripts, so cast and crew could potentially continue working until Dec. 6, although that date may change.
“We have 13 scripts,” executive producer Silvio Horta told us. “They are shooting the 12th right now. But it’s questionable whether we’ll shoot the last script or not. At this point, I’ve taken myself out of any producer involvement. The studio will make the decision on that last script.”
Becki Newton (Amanda) said she's counting her blessings at this point: “The writers worked so hard to finish these episodes, so we feel very fortunate that we still have [material] to be working on. We’re doing our best to honor their words, because these guys are the reason we’re here. Amanda is Amanda because of the lines they write for her, so I fully respect that, and I support them. People don’t realize that the characters they’re watching are a complete function of the writing."
"We’re just trying to keep our show together!" exclaimed Rebecca Romijn. "We’re like, 'What do we do if we need to make script changes on set?!' I mean, I don’t really know! We didn’t realize how much of a security blanket it is, having these writers there. When something isn’t working now, it’s like, 'What do we do?' "
Judith Light, who was on hiatus from Who's the Boss? when the 1988 writers' strike began, has a little experience with the situation: "I was working on a movie in August of '88, and there were no writers there. A draft of the script had been finished, and that was it. It was very difficult waiting to see when the strike was going to end and when we could go back to Who's the Boss?"
Ashley Jensen is worried about how long the strike could last: "I think that the impact of what’s happening, it’s going to affect not just us but the viewers and the whole city of Los Angeles. I keep hearing about the last writers' strike that went on for 22 weeks, and that’s a long time. A lot of people are going to be out of work."
Still, the actors feel confident that the writers are doing the right thing. "These are our friends we’re out here supporting," Chris Gorham told reporters. "We’re the faces of the show, but they are the show. They deserve to have everything they’re fighting for."
—Reporting by Korbi Ghosh