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Hanks, Willis’ films fall victim to writers’ strike

As the Hollywood writers’ strike entered its third week, the film industry saw its first group of films go down in (hopefully, temporary) flames.
/ Source: Access Hollywood

As the Hollywood writers’ strike entered its third week, the film industry saw its first group of films go down in (hopefully, temporary) flames.

“Angels & Demons,” the prequel to the hugely successful “The Da Vinci Code,” reuniting Tom Hanks and director, Ron Howard, has been put on hold due to script problems, according to a report in Variety.

“While the filmmakers and the studio feel the screenplay is very strong, we do not believe it is the fully realized production draft required of this ambitious project,” a Sony rep told Variety. “We do not expect any other film on our 2008 slate to be affected.”

The thriller was scheduled for a Christmas 2008 release, but has been pushed back until summer 2009.

Another major film, “Pinkville,” directed by Oliver Stone starring Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Woody Harrelson, Xzibit, Michael Pitt and Toby Jones, has also been reportedly shelved. The drama centers on the investigation of the My Lai massacre in 1968.

In another blow to television, most of the production staff of “Saturday Night Live” has been fired by NBC, according to Variety. A handful of key production staff members remain employed, while the actors are on an unpaid hiatus.

NBC reps declined comment on the reported layoffs. (MSNBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Making the most of the writer’s strike, the entire cast of “SNL” gathered at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York to perform a live version of the show. Michael Cera, star of “Superbad,” and the upcoming “Juno,” hosted the night, with musical guest Yo La Tengo, according to a repot by the New York Times.

“We’re like cranky trained monkeys if we don’t get to perform,” Amy Poehler told the New York Times. “We all thought about what we’re going to do during the strike, and because we have no other skills, we just scraped this together.”

Poehler, a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, spoke out about to the recent “SNL” layoffs.

“We’re treating this as an optimistic night. We’re celebrating all the hard-working people who have been laid off,” she told the Times.

Fans lucky enough to get a ticket (only about 200 comedy insiders were there) to the sold-out show were treated to “SNL” alums, Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz, surprise guest Norah Jones, and current cast members performing material too racy for television.

A live version of “30 Rock” is scheduled to perform at at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater NY Monday night, with Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan scheduled to appear.

The writers and studios are scheduled to resume talks after the Thanksgiving holiday.