An Inconvenient Question: Why Didn’t DiCaprio Pay His Crew?

Obviously, Fishbowl LA is a fertile breeding ground for cranky writers. Grist stumbled upon our work, and liking what they read, sent us out to an unsuspecting Warner’s press rep, a major movie star and a ballroom of innocent by-standers. The result:

Hour Town
Leo’s feel-good press conference is interrupted by a feel-bad question.

(Our photographer was hung over, judging by the result above. We could have lied and said that security tried to seize the camera.)

A reader named Cushing was the first to contact FBLA and complain. Exchange below.


I’d be curious to know if all of Michael Moore’s documentaries were union? Was an Inconvenient Truth union? Is every documentary, especially those made for the greater good made with union people? We lament that people don’t care-are apathetic, and yet here you go pointing out some relatively mundane point because god forbid, a Hollywood actor made a documentary about the environment, how dare he. What a hypocrite, he supposedly owns an island and that means people can’t volunteer to make the film he’s been working on for two years. You missed the point and given your prejudice against him you will continue to miss the point-that we should all do what we can to help the environment. S.C

FBLA’s reponse:

As I wrote in the piece, not all small docs.are union, but most small docs. don’t have one of the biggest movie stars in the world as a producer. While the film did take two years to make, he did other projects as well.

Moore has had union contracts on some of his films (oddly enough, his TV show writers wanted to join the WGA and he didn’t want to pay the higher rate, for which he was roundly trashed.)

But the greater point, which is also in the piece, is that people worked for free, sometimes in violation of their union rules. All the guilds and trade unions have low budget and even no budget contracts. In California, volunteering for a for profit venture violates labor laws.

Di Caprio, who seems to me to be completely sincere and dedicated, worked under a union contact himself. I have no beef with him at all, and quite admire his work, on and off the screen. His producers did him no favors by not investigating all the options available to them.

Thanks for writing.