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Toby Barlow Headshot

Wait, Did Tom Cruise Just End the Writer's Strike?

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I'm no labor historian, but it seems that if some well-placed people want to end this writer's strike, Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner just pulled the barn door wide open.

Cruise and Wagner's United Artists signed a side deal with the WGA, making them the only ones doing business in a town that's otherwise as shut down as a southern Baptist town on Sunday. So, if you want to do anything in Hollywood, UA's the one place you can go.

The catch, of course, is that despite its gloried past, the UA of today is relatively small (thank you, Michael Cimino!) They're only slated to greenlight four films a year. But if, say, a consortium of investors suddenly poured a whole bunch of money into UA, then Cruise and Wagner could suddenly be greenlighting stuff right and left. Seeing themselves left behind, the other studios would then undoubtedly trip over one another like a bunch of drunken Keystone Cops in order to make their own deals with the WGA before it's too late.

I don't know who these writer-friendly UA investors would be. According to the producers' spin during the strike, there's a small nation of kabillionaire screenwriters out there, so maybe they can do it. Or perhaps there's a large venture fund or two who can appreciate a competitive edge when they see one. Who knows, but UA could conceivably pull together some kind of collective investment that could quickly lead to scores of sound stages being filled with the song and dance of movies being made, just like Jack Warner and Harry Cohn did it back in old days. Of course, Warner and Cohn would be spinning in their graves if they knew the writers were gaining any power at all. Such, I suppose, are the joys of show business.

Okay, yes, it's a thousand times more complicated than I'm laying it out to be, but alls I'm saying is if the cards play out a certain way, if you see money or momentum suddenly flooding the UA way, and the dominos start to fall, then perhaps we will get the one and only thing we all care about: new episodes of 30 Rock.

Seriously, is that too much to ask for?

Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.