In April 2019, thousands of Hollywood writers fired their agents en masse. The move convulsed the entertainment industry. It looked like an impossible David and Goliath scenario: The Writers Guild of America had declared war on the immensely powerful talent agencies, several of which had mutated into full-blown media conglomerates over the years, backed by private-equity money.
The WGA argued that these agencies—in producing their own projects and creating package deals that combined writers, actors, and directors—no longer had the best interests of their clients as their first priority. The packages, they believed, were riddled with conflicts of interest and weren’t necessarily the best deal for writers.
“This has the potential to be a really, really big bang,” one veteran TV writer told me in March that year.
Nearly two years later, the bitter struggle concluded with a plot twist: The writers have triumphed. One by one, the agencies signed on to WGA’s terms, agreeing to phase out the widespread practice of packaging. William Morris Endeavor (WME), the last agency holdout, finally came to an agreement earlier this month.
Editor’s Note: Sometimes, it’s true.. the pen is mightier than the sword!
For celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and his team, serving seafood, caviar, sushi and Champagne for 1,500 is not too tall an order. It will be Puck’s 23rd year of preparing the feast for the official Governors Ball after-Oscars party.
Hollywood’s grande dame hotels, the Sunset Tower and the Chateau Marmont, stand like stone sentries on Sunset Boulevard, less than two miles from the decidedly less stylish stretch of Hollywood Boulevard that hustles from morning to night with camera-toting tourists and Spiderman and Batman impersonators. The Tower and the Chateau are as romantic, seductive and happening as ever, at once guardians of an imperiled history but very much of the moment, with deal-making lunches and opening parties drawing clumps of paparazzi outside the driveway of Chateau Marmont, and limousines backed up along Sunset Boulevard in front of the Sunset Tower.
If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they’d have an awful lot of tales to tell — old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA’s watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city’s plastered past.
In his book Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood History, Bailey details the history of Hollywood’s love affair with liquor. It’s full of tales of beloved actors, directors and screenwriters behaving badly, from the early days of film all the way up to the 1970s — and includes recipes for some stars’ favorite cocktails.