The good news for Lifetime and the producers of their tabloid headline-making movie Liz & Dick is that it has only about a week of filming left. The bad news is that, as the first two and a half weeks of shooting proved, with Lindsay Lohan as the star, a lot could happen in a week that could impact production.
In the last two weeks, filming on the movie was pushed after Lohan crashed her car on her way to the set and when she passed out in her room toward the end of a nightlong shoot. In a tweet, Lohan cited exhaustion “after working 85 hours in 4 days.” When two crew members in the hair department left the production a day later, also claiming exhaustion, Liz & Dick began to attract union attentions. Despite an awkwardly worded statement by SAG-AFTRA today stressing that “we have thoroughly investigated this matter” and “all applicable penalties will be paid,” there have been no violations cited by the actors union yet, and a SAG-AFTRA rep admitted that “we do not have complete information on this yet.” Liz & Dick producer Larry Thompson, a TV movie veteran who is a union signatory and knows their requirements inside and out, acknowledged in a statement that “an AFTRA rep visited us on the set late yesterday afternoon and was TOTALLY fine with everything,” adding that per the union rep, it wasn’t any complaints from AFTRA members but “tweets and comments in the media” that prompted “their curiosity and desire to inquire.”
IATSE, the union that represents stagehands, film technicians and other crafts people, also officially weighed in on the matter tonight. “We have had union representatives on the set since last Friday [June 15] and will continue to monitor the hours and working conditions there,” IATSE said in a statement, though crew members working on Liz & Dick indicated earlier today that they hadn’t been contacted by their union yet to discuss the issue.
Because their budgets are modest, TV movies have far more compressed filming schedules than features do, which does lead to longer days on the set. But Liz & Dick crew members we spoke with disputed the filming hours account in Lohan’s tweet. “Lilo did not work 85 hours in 4 days and we are not averaging 20 hours a day,” one crew member said. “We worked about 70-75 hours in 5 days last week, which isn’t that abnormal for a TV movie. And we’re on set before Lilo and usually wrap long after she’s gone. We could’ve shaved off about 7 or 8 hours that we sat around waiting for Lilo.” (more…)