Layton, the strike is scheduled to begin on Wednesday the second of May. I imagine that you must be feeling quite tense at this moment in time?
Can I just ask, is your name pronounced Cousins or is it pronounced the French way Couz-anne?
Erm, its pronounced Cousins.
I see. The only reason I mention it and its really only a very small thing is that when we met, you pronounced my surname as Bridges. As I say, its only a small thing. I wont mention it again.
Im most dreadfully sorry Layton. How should I have pronounced it?
Hmm. Actually, thats kinda the other thing I wanted to mention. See, you keep calling me Layton. I know thats how its spelled. In fact, thats how my father and his father before him used to pronounce it. But Ive done a lot of research into my family history and I discovered that in Ye Olde Ancient France where my family name originates its actually pronounced Loy-ton. Loy-ton Brid-geê.
Im most dreadfully sorry, Loyton. Or would you prefer me to call you Mr Bridges?
I just told you, its pronounced Brid-geê. Thats actually bordering on quite rude now.
Right, sorry. Er, the strike?
Yeah sure. Well basically were in dispute with the studios over two fundamental points. I guess you could say we had differing points of view.
So what exac
Didnt you see what I did there? "Two fundamental points"? "Differing points of view?" Did I tell you that I worked on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective? Jim Carrey knows me by my first name.
So as I was saying
He pronounces it right too.
Yes, Ive already apologised for that. Twice. Now if we could get back to the strike?
Proposed strike. Nice bit of foreshadowing there, huh? Dont count your chickens until theyve hatched. Thats actually a cliché so, strictly speaking, you shouldnt use that in a script. You know that line in Airplane where Leslie Nielsen says, "Dont call me Shirley?" I wrote that!
About half an hour ago you mentioned two fundamental points, which were the reason behind the threatened strike action. What are they?
Two things, ok? Pay and credit. Hows that for a snappy soundbite, huh? You know that line in The Terminator where Arnold Schwarzenegger says, "Ill be back". I wrote that! How cool is that?! I gave Arnie his catchphrase!
Thats great, Im very happy for you. You still havent told us what the two things you are in dispute about actually are in any great detail. Or in any detail at all.
"Patience, young Skywalker". That still sounds as good as the day it churned out of my typewriter, you know. Basically our beef is that the film studios are making huge profits out of our work when they re-sell movies on video and DVD. Thats our first problem
If I can just interrupt you there
The video market has been making extremely large profits for the Hollywood Studios for almost twenty years. DVD has only seriously begun to become a serious home entertainment format in the last two to three years. Have you only just noticed whats been going on around you or something?
I hope you arent suggesting that the average writer is stuck in front of a computer screen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to the point where he begins to lose touch which whats happening in the rest of the world. You know, if our guys out there fighting Saddam in the Gulf could hear you now
Our boys are dying for people like you.
Actually, the Gulf War has been over for nearly eight years. The only allied troops killed were accidentally blown up by some American bombers.
Are you a communist?
No, Im a Liberal Democrat. Tell me about this pay dispute. Please.
Well okay, I take your point that we should possibly have done something about the huge amounts of money that studios have been making off video sales for the last two decades before now. But what youve failed to mention is the Internet. People can download movies off the Internet and watch them at home and we dont make a penny off it.
But people cant download movies off the Internet. And if they could then theyd just be a horribly jerky little postcard-sized window on their computers that would take about a week to download. Its just not feasible at the moment.
But it might one day. Were using our imaginations here. We are writers, you know. You know that bit in American Beauty when Kevin Spacey says, "Pass the asparagus please?"
Did you write that bit?
No. But I wish I had. Do you want to know about the second point of the dispute?
Yes, do tell us.
Well the second point is about credit. Whats one of the main things that you notice about films today?
They've all got Judi Dench in them?
I hadnt noticed that. Good point. No, theyre all credited as "A film by Blah Blah" or "A Blah Blah film". See, at one time that was used as a selling point for a movie. Hitchcock was a big box office draw so youd stick his name above the title. It was used as a kind of advertising. Now its used as a form of self-aggrandisement. First time directors are getting to stick, "A Film By Flub Flub" at the start of their movies. What sort of box office draw are they going to be? Have you noticed that only male directors do it? Its like some sort of cut-price penis extension.
I think youll find that Kathryn Bigelow does it too
Yeah, well there always was something odd about her.
Ive heard it suggested that youre all just a bit bitter because nobody knows the names of any writers these days.
That is a crock of shit. Next thing youll be telling me that using lots of writers on a film is a sign of desperation or thats its going bound to turn out bad or something.
Well, I have heard it suggested.
It is sooooo not true. Take The Flintstones for example. The only reason that thirty writers worked on that is because we wanted to make each and every joke perfect. It takes a lot more skill then just writing a stream of jokes and inserting, "Yabba-dabba-doo" every other line.
Which, to be fair, is exactly what happens in the film. It was also a resounding box-office flop.
Er, you know that line in Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum says, "Nature always finds a way"?
I suppose you wrote that did you?
No. Id resigned from the film before that bit was written. Spielberg kept pronouncing my name wrong.
is that close enough?
Thank you for talking to me.
Note: At the time of writing the deadline for negotiations had passed with the issues at the heart of the dispute unresolved. Talks continue, although no new deadline for strike action has yet been set. If Layton Bridges is involved in the negotiations I can only feel pity for those taking part.