“Half-Blood Prince” Filming News: Threat of Strike to Affect Harry Potter Six?

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Sep 19, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

There are a couple pieces of news to tell you this morning in relation to filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Guardian is reporting today that the threat of a looming actors strike due next summer is affecting the production of some big budget films in the UK, and they mention it could affect the filming of HBP. Noting that this strike “looks set to take place in June next year and will in fact manifest itself as a combined strike by the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America (West) against the Producers Guild of America. The predicted strike has already sent Hollywood into a frenzy of planning, with many studios reportedly accelerating production of films to avoid gaps in their release schedules.” On this list of movies possibly to be affected is the sixth Harry Potter film.

At this time we have heard no change in production schedules, as the actors are in rehearsal this week for the movie, and we will update you should any more develop on this front. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still confirmed to be released in theaters on November 21, 2008.

On a related note, as a followup to the news TLC first told you about a few weeks ago, noted cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel has confirmed in a note written in his native French, that he will begin principal photography on Half-Blood Prince next week on September 24. Thanks to UHP who also let us know that Mr. Delbonnel also confirmed to them that fellow French native Jany Temime is returning yet again as costume designer for the new Harry Potter movie.





51 Responses to “Half-Blood Prince” Filming News: Threat of Strike to Affect Harry Potter Six?

Avatar Image says:

From what I’ve read about other movies, the key will be to have a script and be in production. Movies such as Justice League of America (per Variety) are rushing forward to get started ahead of the strike (if it happens). The key date appears to be April. You have to be started before April in order to keep working. If this characterization is correct, the strike should not affect HP6 filming.

Avatar Image says:

Now this is my ignorance, but what are they striking about? I would hate to think it’s about their tiny paycheck…

Avatar Image says:

Why would anyone plan a strike nine months in advance? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

Avatar Image says:

I thought they were going to be done filming by May 2008?

Avatar Image says:

Actually, one of the biggest issues is the DVD. If you are a DVD fan (which I am), one of the reasons to buy the actual DVD is to spend hours listening to the commentaries, behind the scenes, watch all the extras. Yes, you can do this with a rental but some of these extras take hours.

Well, the actors don’t get paid anything for the DVD. Nothing for their commentaries, nothing for blooper reels. Nadda, zip, zilch. In fact blooper reels often go missing from the DVD these days. Commentaries still seem to be there but often from the director. I’m not sure if the directors or writers get paid for extras on the DVD.

So, the DVD has become exceptionally profitable for the studios and the rest of the creative team is pushing back because they feel exploited. Look at the absolute explosion in TV show DVDs. Its far more than movies that are at stake.

Apparently the internet “rules” are also fuzzy.

In both cases, the more diverse mediums have really become a huge part of the industry and the existing arrangements for actors, directors, and writers are not up to date. The producers are hesitant to give up there new cash cow.

I’m hoping they resolve this quickly. In addition to the threat to films and TV, I’d like to see those commentaries, blooper reels, and extras expand versus wither.

Avatar Image says:

I thought it was bad enough that post offices have strikes. Oh well, hopefully they would of finished filming HBP in spring 08.

Avatar Image says:

Well, you know, money and all :\ I just hope HP isn’t affeted in the end.

Avatar Image says:

I doubt it’ll affect filming, the director isn’t a member of the Director’s Guild of America. If Equity or BECTU called a strike there would be trouble! I’d imagine all the British actors over the age of 18 are members of Equity, possibly some of the younger actors have provisional membership.

They’d probably just leave any scenes that require script tweaks to be done when the strike is over, or just employ someone else to do script revisions. That happens a lot.

(If BECTU called a strike I’d still cross the picket to go to work, they don’t care if you’re a theatre technician only if you work in film/TV and can give them LOTS OF MONEY!)

Avatar Image says:

This could actually affect NOT HBP but DH. HP movies are pretty much being done back to back arent they? Script wrting and pre production starts before the latest film is released. But SueB above gave a pretty good concise overview of the Potter films production and DVD (Thanks! that was actually quite educational!). Most of the team are not even part of the US guilds though (of course the backing producers are). It is scary when I hear thinggs like rushing a movie to meet early deadlines as quality is bound to suffer. So I keep my fingers crossed that the last 2 potter films will be unharmed and treated with as much loving care as the previous films have clearly been.

Avatar Image says:

The guilds represent not only the rich and famous members but the other 90% as well. The strikes are usually to obtain better conditions for those members. Because of their obligation to the guild they must comply with its decision.

Don’t worry, Harry Potter is too big a franchise to be scrapped though delays may or may not happen. All else fails I will gladly act, write and direct for free! _

Avatar Image says:

I am curious about this, as others have pointed out, prob nearly everyone working HP won’t be members of these guilds, so how does it affect? Wouldn’t it classed as a British production?

Avatar Image says:

As a long-time member of the Screen Actors Guild let me just say that before every newt contract negotiation there is talk of a possible strike. The vst majority of the time there isn’t one. And it ususally starts months before the old contract runs out and just before negotiations start. It’s a tactic that must be used to let the producers and the production companies know that we are, indeed, serious about getting our fair share. So you can relax for now.

However, if a strike does occur, sister unions – which include British Equity and IATSE (the technicians union) have been known not to cross the picket line. In fact some union will not allow their members to cross a sister union’s picket line. Those that do can, and have suffered severe penalties.

And as Lucien pointed out, the unions are negotiating for the 90% of members who don’t make the salaries that Dan, and Emma and Rupert make. That’s fine by me.

Avatar Image says:

you are aware that filming for the movie will be wrapped by April or May in order to be released in November. the strike shouldn’t affect actual filming production, weather or not the purposed strike will affect post production on the film I can’t say

Avatar Image says:

Most of the people who are a part of HP (acting and production team) have been a part of the Potter production for YEARS! Even as long as the first one. Everyone knows each other. Everyone’s friends with each other. I dont really think that the Potter team would strike…it just doesnt sound like them. =) Serina xxx

Avatar Image says:

Very educational posters. I knew nothing about the business of making a movie.. Thanks

Avatar Image says:

Unfortunately Serina that’s not the way it works. The Potter actors are part of a larger union, and if the union goes on strike, they will have to as well. Simple as that.

Neil, these films are made by an American studio with American money so they are considered American films.

Avatar Image says:

I can’t really see this affecting filming for HBP. One, although it is an American film funded by an American company with American money, the two main producers (David Heyman and David Barron) are British and the films are not being shot in the U.S.. The only Americans involved in the Potter films is, of course, the studio heads, the executive producers and the screenwriter. It could be a determining factor, but it might not be. (I’m pretty sure the WB has paid Goldenberg and Kloves a pretty good amount to pen the movies, but I’m not sure if they want in on the strike.)

And I didn’t know Jany Temime was from France, I thought she was Belgian. o_O

Avatar Image says:

Michael -

Can you confirm what are the most pressing issues for the unions at the moment? Is it DVD extras, as SueB mentions, and are there other contract points that the general public would not be aware of?

I find this fascinating….thanks for your insight.

Avatar Image says:

This comments section has been the most educational and professional I have ever seen on the site. Good job.

As for the strike…when is the projected finish date for HBP? Surely they will be finished before the summer anyway…

Also, While none of the actors or production staff are apart fo the affected unions, they are stil associated with them, and that is enough in cases like these for them not to cross the picket line, especially since WB is running the show. Had it been a British production house (and I do not know of any who produce such major films), then there would likely be nothing affected…but alas….

Avatar Image says:

First of all, the Writer’s Guild is the first that has their negotiations, which are due around Halloween. If no negotiations are met, they are being told to continue to work until SAG and DGA (Director’s Guild of America) begin their contract negotiations come June 30, 2008.

You have to remember that the acting unions are “sister” unions (In America, that’s Actor’s Equity Association, AFTRA, SAG and AGVA) and they respect the picket lines of their fellow unions, including the WGA, DGA and IASTE. If the US strikes, it could very well affect Britain as many British Actor’s work on American films. It’s more of a respect issue with not crossing the picket line.

Sue is right, too, regarding some of the main issues this time around.

I don’t believe it will affect HBP and not quite sure if it will affect DH, as DH is set to film in 2009. Let’s hope if there IS a strike that it’s negotiated by that point.

Avatar Image says:

i dont think it will affect HBP filming. but DH? gosh, i hope not.

what im waiting for is casting announcements.

Avatar Image says:

we were just discussing this in my Film history course. how odd.

Avatar Image says:

As the daughter of a unionized teacher union here in Canada, my experience is usually that there is a period in which there is notice of a potential strike (nine times out of ten, they usually are averted) while talk between both sides is going on and usually nothing comes of it. If there is a strike, most times they are usually only a couple of weeks and an agreement is come to. Usually its more a threat than anything.

I don’t think that the strike will affect the filming of the sixth or seventh films, as the either wrap up production before a strike would take place or would start afterwards. While the seventh film might have a bit of delay, it probably wouldn’t be enough to delay the actual release of DH.

Avatar Image says:

How can it affect HBP when it will be in post production by then?

Avatar Image says:

i’m sorry but somehow this news bit is wrong. people get paid millions already, and its still not enough for them. the more you get, the more hungry you get too, it seems. and then somewhere else in this world people spend 10/12 hour shifts in factories only to leave with a couple of dollars at the end of the day which isnt even enough to feed their families. I’ve never heard them go on strikes…guess why, cause they dont have job security, or even the right to it. amazing how the system, regardless of name and location, is always protecting the rich, instead of the poor and the needy-which is what it should be doing.

ahhh…the irony of it all….

Avatar Image says:

Fabulous comments! What an education.

I have been hearing about this potential strike for a while.

Avatar Image says:

I just thought of something.

The filming of te actual scenes would be complete before the strike happens (if it happens), but the post production will take all summer next year…that means while principle photography would be complete, none of the special effects or touch ups would be done…

Maybe Potter may run into problems after all…

Avatar Image says:

All else fails I will gladly act, write and direct for free!

LOL @ Lucien! all the more i hope the strike truly won’t affect both HBP and DH films. =) it shouldn’t.

somehow this came to mind… in HBP chap1, when the Prime Minister blustered to Fudge and Scrimgeour that they could do magic!... then Fudge looked at him a lil sadly and replied that the other side (Voldy and his Eaters) can do magic, too.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks to SueB for your enlightening us and insight into the issue. Also thanks to Melisa and others for the extra information on how it affects other parts of the industry, awards, tactics and usual agreements as well as seeing other points of view. It does put this topic into some perspective.

Avatar Image says:

I’m quite sure Dan’s a member of Equity, because I read that the union helped him get a larger payment for the first film – they initially offered something 100,000 pounds or something, but they got it up to 250,000? Yes, I know. Sounds measley, but compared to what he should have been paid for a big budget film it’s pittance. Strikes aren’t all about money. Actors have really long hours, and they have to keep pushing for better conditions – remember, it’s not just big silver screen actors who are members of Equity – small time actors are members too. And think of how bad their conditions are. And as far as post-production goes, if there’s a delay in pre or post production, it will effect post production and push the release of the film to a later date. Hopefully the Unions will work everything out before a strike has to take place. Cheers.

Avatar Image says:

@SueB

I couldn’t agree more.. i LOVE the extras on dvd’s (any dvd, not just HP), i watch them more often than the dvd itself.. I love the bloopers and the deleted scenes and even the commentary (esp. when the actors give comments). I love the storyboards and the gallries with pictures from the production i love the information about the actors or characters they sometimes put on the dvd. to make my story shorter: i agree with you and hope to see MORE extras on dvd’s and i so hope they never stop putting extras on a dvd, it makes it so much more fun to buy the orginal dvd and not some stupid fake copy on the internet.

Avatar Image says:

True actors and others can get paid alot of money. But that is a very small minority of the industry. There are plenty of them struggle to make ends meet, and you got to realise, unlike people who work 9-5 Monday to Friday, they don’t have a steady guarantee of work all the time. So its only fair, they try and fight for better conditions.

Also, I don’t want to turn this into another US v UK arguement, we can surely do with out it. But even though it is funded by and American studio, it is still very much a British production.

Avatar Image says:

I deeply appreciate Michael, Andrea and Neil explaining to everyone why actors’ unions like SAG, AFTRA, and Actors Equity exist. Only about 2% of members of these unions make the astronomical sums that fan magazines write about.

The remaining 98% of their members are actors who struggle daily to make a living, by doing extra and background work on films and commercials, very low-paying regional theatre work (when they can get it!), and other one-day or one-week jobs sometimes only vaguely related to acting. The rest of the time, they’re waiting tables, doing temp work in offices, and a variety of other survival jobs to keep body and soul together.

Unions don’t only strike about wages - they strike about working conditions, length of the work day, health insurance, pensions - all the things that office workers have and take for granted. Unions are there to protect actors from being misused, overworked, and underpaid by management/producers—those who stand to hugely profit from films, TV, and theatre.

I should know, because I was a union actor for 15 years, and my husband has been one for 30 years. After 3 decades in this business, we’re still struggling to support our family, but my husband is dedicated to continuing in this chosen profession—one that average people seem to idolize until the actors’ unions talk about strikes.

Avatar Image says:

For some reason, this sentence was edited in my e-mail. It reads, complete, as follows:

Unions don’t only strike about wages. They strike about working conditions, length of the work day, health insurance, pensions – all the things that office workers have and take for granted.

Avatar Image says:

Ilove this book it’s great!I love all the books!!!!!!

Avatar Image says:

hmm, its my favorite book too. hope nothing untoward happens.

Avatar Image says:

I love all the books!

Avatar Image says:

They’re PLANNING a strike? That’s ridiculous. I hope nothing interferes too much because I have high hopes for this film!! :)

Avatar Image says:

Michael -

Can you confirm what are the most pressing issues for the unions at the moment? Is it DVD extras, as SueB mentions, and are there other contract points that the general public would not be aware of?

I find this fascinating….thanks for your insight.

Posted by jensenly


I’m not as up on what SAG will be stressing right now as I’m teaching at a university for the Fall, which is keeping me busy.

I will say that some things negotiated in the past include better working conditions for the rank and file (the 98% of the membership who are notearning millions of dollars per project), higher slaraies, higher pension and health payments by the producers, residuals for DVD sales and cable/satellite broadcasts.

Something else to keep in mind is that SAG and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) usually negotiate together with the producers. One of the main reasons for that is that the network and cable television contract is negotiated at the same time and both unions have TV contracts for certain shows. For example, the last I heard some situation comedies are under SAG contracts and some still are under AFTRA contracts. Game show are under the AFTRA contract and I suspect that some reality shows are AFTRA as well. And I haven’t even touched the cable networks yet.

So it’s much easier for SAG and AFTRA to join forces than negotiate separately. Which means those unions must agree on what they will propose to the producers. Which means they need time to prpare their proposals. Which means reports of negotiations as strikes pop out in the media months before the end of the current contract.

Oh, something else you may not know:

The union negotiators are made up of union members who have been elected to run the respective unions, without being paid to do so. That’s right, Ladies and Gents, except for the handful of people who are hired by the union to keep the books and do the other nuts and bolts jobs to keep the infrastructure sound, the vast majority of the union leaders do not get paid for their work. It’s a volunteer job, folks.

I was a member of a local SAG Council for six years and didn’t get paid one penny. And they say this is a glamorous business. :D :D

Avatar Image says:

Wow. I guess the only good news coming out of this is the fact that they start filming on monday.

Avatar Image says:

Is anyone else as psyched as I am that the Director of Photography is the same guy from Amelie?

Avatar Image says:

To belive or not to belive in a trashy news paper.

Avatar Image says:

I had written a long post answering the question put to me, but somehow it got lost in the ‘net.

Long story, short, I don’t know the specifics of what SAG is proposing right now. I’ve been busy teaching at a university for the Fall and haven’t kept up with SAG. What I can say is that both SAG and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) are probably joining forces to negotiate with the producers, as usual. You see, not only is the feature film contract ending, so is the television contract. And since both unions have jurisdiction over certain network and cable TV shows, they make a stronger presence to the producers when they join forces.

A couple of things you may not know:

- The unions and producers negotiate contracts that last for three years. Every once in a while a contract is extended, sometimes up to a year, as long as both sides are negotiating fairly. But three years are the norm, so you’ll probably hear about a potential strike in another three years.

- Except for the paid staff that keeps the unions’ infrastructure running, those who are elected to lead the unions, and those elected to represent members in different regions of the States are not paid. They’re all volunteer positions. I, myself, spent some six years as a member of the SAG Council for the Washington-Baltimore branch, and let me tell you, I didn’t get one dime for my time. We all did it, and do it, for the membership.

So do those non-paid, elected leaders and representatives who negotiate the various contracts every three years.

And they call this a glamorous profession. :D :D

Avatar Image says:

“Is anyone else as psyched as I am that the Director of Photography is the same guy from Amelie?”

Yeah, I am too. The thing is though, the Harry Potter films have a certain visual style and the style that worked for Jean-Pierre Jeunet isn’t compatible with Harry Potter. I’m sure HBP will still look very beautiful with Bruno Delbonnel behind the cinematographer’s chair.

Avatar Image says:

Excuse my ignorance but these actors’ guilds seem American. But HP actors are British aren’t they? So why would it affect HP?

I know that there have been strikes threatened in Britain by the actors’ union Equity because of bad pay – and that would affect any member of the union presumably just like with any work union. You support your colleagues even if you are well paid yourself.

It’s actually true that for many actors pay is very bad, eg those who play in choruses like on the big musicals, not lead roles (or HP!) I wouldn’t have thought. I read in a newspaper what the standard pay levels are and it was quite appallingly low. The HP actors might still support their colleagues.

But I don’t get why American strikes would affect British actors..

I haven’t read any other posts so excuse me if this has been explained previously.

Avatar Image says:

I hope HP is not effected :( Why strike 9 moths in advance???? Go HP Actors!

Avatar Image says:

i can’t wait to see the film, even though i’ll be waiting a long time!!! lol! :)

Avatar Image says:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOO! I feel like Homer Simpson, DOH!

Avatar Image says:

The technical crew on Evita (West End) walked out over pay during the run, what happened to them? BECTU (union) screwed them. The money was appalling and now those who walked out in protest are banned from working within Really Useful Theatres – that’s quite a lot of theatres. BECTU did nothing, it just sat back – the money agreed was the BECTU minimum. Equity are working to give a minimum of £500per week for those working in stage management on musicals and £550 for plays. If I went on strike, my job would be filled immediately and the loss of earning would be huge – it’s not worth it and fortunately these days the big theatres are buying out the union and getting those of us who work on the shows a better deal.

Avatar Image says:

I thought i’d mention that the crew on HP2 threatened to strike during the making of that film because their pay had not gone up despite the wild success of HP1. Also Equity threatened to withhold their actors on that movie as well if Dan’s salary (about 300,000 pounds or something piddly like that) was not adjusted, seeing as how he was the lead actor on a film that had just made almost a billion dollars. As a result, his salary was bumped up to 3,000,000.

Avatar Image says: aggah!!!noooo!!!!!!they moved it to july 17!!!!*cries*

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