The strike has begun, Insiders. The industrial action, the first in the U.S. since 2007-08, dominated news coverage in film and TV this week but there’s been plenty more going around the world. Jesse Whittock here to take you through. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter here.
Strike, Camera, Action!
Shows of solidarity: The moment is upon us. Following several weeks of failed negotiations, the WGA is striking for the first time in 15 years over issues including compensation and streaming residuals, mini-rooms, late-night streaming shows and pensions. As writers across the U.S. hit the picket lines, attention here at Deadline International has been focused on the ripple effects being felt globally. Multiple writers unions around the world were swift in their shows of support. Australian, Canadian and UK guilds have already urged their own writers to down tools and refuse to work on U.S. projects, while bodies from the likes of Israel, Ireland and France have all publicly backed the WGA, with more reaction likely over the weekend. Our international roundup, which we are updating, can be found here.
True impact: We’ve also spent the week figuring out the impact of the strike on the non-U.S. landscape, with a deep dive looking at the UK. Rushed scripts, confusion and blacklisting threats is what we found, with sources saying that they are still digesting what is taking place. Many are still working out whether their shows will be affected, with question marks surrounding streamer shows that have been commissioned outside the U.S., or the big U.S. series being filmed in the UK. House of the Dragon Season 2 is pushing on for now, as is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2. “It’s very complicated,” said a high-profile UK scribe. “If you’re a UK writer working on a U.S. show under WGA jurisdiction you can’t continue until this is resolved. The Guild has been firm about this.” John McVay, CEO of indie trade body Pact, sought to downplay the situation and pointed to a broader scripted slowdown. “Moving on from the boom is good because people were working back-to-back, getting burned out and wage rates were through the roof,” he added. We will be keeping our eyes trained on what comes next. And to read Deadline’s round-the-clock coverage so far, click here.
Cannes: The Jury’s Out
The great eight: With 11 days to go until its kick-off on May 16, Cannes Film Festival announcements have been falling thick and fast. One key missing element was who would be serving on the main Competition jury alongside its previously announced president Ruben Östlund. The festival finally dropped the news this week and the two-time Palme d’Or winner is in good company. He will be joined by a Cannes first-timer, Captain Marvel star Brie Larson, as well as Croisette habitués Moroccan director Maryam Touzani, French actor Denis Ménochet, British-Zambian screenwriter and director Rungano Nyoni, American actor and director Paul Dano, Afghan writer and filmmaker Atiq Rahimi, Argentinian director and screenwriter Damián Szifrón and French director Julia Ducournau, who is only the second woman to win the Palme d’Or over 76 editions of the festival. There are 21 films in the running for the Palme d’Or this year, which will be announced at the closing ceremony on May 27.
Iran stops Rasoulof: Cannes also announced the jury for the Un Certain Regard line-up this week but one member who should have been on the press release was absent. It emerged that dissident Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof had been invited to participate but was barred from leaving Iran. The festival had hoped to secure the filmmaker’s attendance following his temporary release from Tehran’s Evin jail in February due to ill health, following a seven-month stint at the notoriously tough facility. The director, who has long been in the crosshairs of his country’s draconian Islamic Republic government for his hard-hitting work critiquing Iranian society under its rule, has a long history with Cannes. His films Manuscripts Don’t Burn and A Man of Integrity world premiered in Un Certain Regard in 2013 and 2017, winning the Fipresci and best film prizes respectively. It remains to be seen whether the winds of change blowing through Iran with the Woman Life Freedom protest will bring greater freedom for its filmmakers in the future.
Charles On Coronation Street
“I just can’t wait to be king…”: Love it or hate it, the British monarchy remains the world’s leading real-life soap opera. Tomorrow, the latest chapter in the royal story will be written as King Charles III is officially sworn in as monarch, following the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last year. Though the royals have spent years trying to modernize their brand, the King’s Coronation will be nothing but old-school regal pageantry — think oversized crowns, ceremonial staffs and biblical readings. Millions – maybe billions – will tune in. I’ve run down how the countries are covering the $125M+ proceedings here — many major terrestrial channels are clearing large parts of their Saturday schedules to make way for the event, with news analysis coverage before and after. International news channels will blanket cover. However, it will probably come as little surprise that the King’s big day won’t be carried on major networks in Russia.
Like buses: One such major event is a huge technical broadcasting feat, so it’s quite the stress when two come along at once. Next week, the UK hosts the Eurovision Song Contest, as last year’s winners Ukraine can’t hold it due to the ongoing war. Max spoke with the BBC live event execs who are juggling both the Coronation and Eurovision, along with next Sunday’s BAFTA TV Awards. It’s the biggest undertaking of its kind for the BBC in a decade, execs told Max, when then London Olympics and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations ran during summer 2012. “This is what you get into TV for,” said a fired-up BBC unscripted boss Kate Phillips. We’ll have more details on UK and U.S. coverage tomorrow, along with links to live streams of the coverage on Deadline.com, so make sure to check back in.
‘MasterChef Australia’ Rocked
RIP Jock Zonfrillo: MasterChef Australia has been one of the highest-rating shows on TV down under for many years and a top international seller, so it’s always a big deal when a new season comes around on Network Ten. However, tragedy struck just before the 15th run began on May 1, as the news emerged judge Jock Zonfrillo had passed away. The energetic Scotland-born celebrity chef and broadcaster was just 46 and leaves behind a wife and young children. “Keep this proud Scot in your hearts,” urged his family in a message confirming his passing. Ten and producer Endemol Shine Australia then delayed the cooking competition’s season launch to this coming Sunday (May 7), with his family’s blessing(shooting wrapped last month). Zonfrillo had joined MasterChef Australia in 2019, along with former winner Andy Allen and food critic Melissa Leong. The trio replaced three long-time judges and were under huge pressure to keep ratings up — and became a resounding success. While Zonfrillo at times had a difficult past, his death has shocked friends, family and fans to the core, and left MasterChef Australia without a key component to its recent success.
Baz Had A Dream
Cramer versus Cramer: Our roving International Editor-At-Large Baz Bamigboye has known Judy Cramer, the creator and driving force behind West End super show Mamma Mia!, for decades. With an ITV talent show expanding her ABBA-inspired universe, the two pals sat down to talk about how times have changed, the chances of the show returning to Broadway and (whisper it) the growing likelihood of a third Mamma Mia! movie. “It’s in its earliest stages,” revealed Cramer. The challenge is how she can magic up a way of getting the previous films’ favorite characters — hi, Meryl Streep’s Donna Sheridan and Cher’s vivacious Ruby — back together. Besides the news nuggets, Cramer recalled when legendary Universal chairwoman Donna Langley took a pilgrimage to London to see the show and close a ground-breaking deal with Cramer’s Littlestar. Shimmy your way over to the full piece here.
🌶️ Hot One: Carrey Mulligan, Tom Basden and Tim Key are set to star in comedy One For the Money, as Andreas revealed.
🌶️ Another One: Sheridan Smith and Celine Buckens will appear as sisters in Paramount+ UK drama The Castaways.
🌶️ Hotter: Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan will make his directorial debut with Red Chillies Entertainment series Stardom.
🌶️ One more: Mad Men‘s Christina Hendrix will lead the Cannes-bound psychological thriller Reckoner.
🚪 Exiting: Long-serving Starz international programming chief Jeff Cooke, as I revealed Tuesday.
🖊️ Signed up: Tunisian-Egyptian actress Hend Sabry, for representation at CAA, as Andreas revealed.
🤝 Done deal: The UK’s Pinewood Group bought the Toronto production facility that bears its name.
🤝 Another deal: Canada’s Crave renewed its multi-year licensing agreement with Warner Bros Discovery for the likes of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. Max with the scoop.
🎵 Musical number: This week’s Global Breakout was Dutch entertainment format Don’t Stop the Music.
🪄 Abracadabra!: British magician Dynamo is making his latest Sky series, Dynamo: Mind Over Magic. Jake with this one.
🏵️ Honored: Michael Douglas will receive an honorary Palme D’Or in Cannes.
🍿 Box office: John Wick: Chapter 4 blazed past $400M at the global box office.
⛺ Festival: German industry shindig Seriencamp unveiled its line-up — and Deadline as official media partner.
🔽 Falling: Revenues at Fremantle, down 5.6% year-on-year as it targets annual turnover of €3BN ($3.3BN) by 2025.
🎥 Trailer: Mel brought you the international trailer for Valérie Donzelli’s domestic violence feature Just the Two of Us ahead of its Cannes bow.
Melanie Goodfellow and Max Goldbart contributed to this week’s International Insider