Writers' strike: Judgment of Paris on hold

  • Friday 1 February 2008

With the Writers Guild of America strike still in full effect, production of the film Judgment of Paris is on hold.

The film is based on the book of the same name written by journalist George Taber about the 1976 Paris tasting in which California wines outperformed French counterparts in a blind tasting.

According to Judgment of Paris screenwriter Robert Kamen, the film has not yet been cast or started filming because of the ongoing WGA strike that has paralyzed television and film production in Hollywood.

‘We’re on strike and there’s nothing to be done until the strike is finished,’ said Kamen on Wednesday.

Another film based loosely around the same Paris tasting, Bottle Shock, recently received eight screenings at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Reviews, while not universally bad – Variety’s was largely positive – are not glowing.

Screendaily.com, the web arm of Screen International, was withering.

‘The only thing that differentiates this movie from an infomercial is its unbearable feature length,’ the reviewer said. ‘If you have to sit through it, bring plenty to drink.’

According to Bottle Shock writer and director Randall Miller, the film has multiple distribution offers, but no firm deal in place. It is possible that it could go on general release in the US as early as this summer.

Bottle Shock revolves around the relationship between father Jim and son Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena, the winery that produced the winning Chardonnay in the Paris tasting.

Judgment of Paris controls the rights not only to Taber’s book but the stories of Warren Winiarski of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which made the winning red, and Steven Spurrier – now Decanter’s consultant editor - who organised the tasting.

The Writers’ Guild and studios are currently in the second week of informal talks under a news blackout with the goal of reviving official negotiations.

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