3,500 rally at Fox studios

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They rocked along with Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer and guitarist, and they were urged on by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

And five days into the first writers strike in 20 years, the 3,500 protesters who turned out this morning for a massive rally outside 20th Century Fox studios said they were just getting started.

Pressure may be mounting to get writers and the major studios back to the bargaining table -- leaders of the industry’s top five talent agencies met with strike leaders at the Writers Guild of America’s office and there are growing calls for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to intervene -- but many strikers today insisted that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by staying out as long as it takes.

Steven E. de Souza, who wrote ‘Die Hard,’ stood in front of the building on Avenue of the Stars where that blockbuster was shot and where Bruce Willis’ famous jumping scene unfolded. ‘This strike is far more organized; there is more solid support from unions and the public,’ he said, adding that he wanted to send a message to the governor, who coincidentally starred in another movie de Souza wrote, 1985’s ‘Commando.’


Pretending that he was knocking on the governor’s trailer, he said: ‘Fifteen minutes, Mr. Schwarzenegger. We need you on the set.’

Shawn Ryan, show runner of FX’s ‘The Shield,’ said his contract was suspended without pay as of Wednesday. ‘I will lose money with this strike. But it’s not about me . . . I benefited from the guild in the past . . . Now it’s my turn to sacrifice for the people who come after me.’

The impasse between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers centers on DVD residuals and payment for Internet content. Many writers feel that if they don’t forge an equitable deal now, it will be too late.

Guitarist Tom Morello and lead singer Zack de la Rocha from rock band Rage Against the Machine provided entertainment for the crowd from atop a rolling stage. Jackson told the screaming throng: ‘You will not go back. . . . Keep hope alive. Don’t surrender.’

Despite the inflamed emotions, everything was under control, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, which provided the crowd estimate.

‘It was a very cooperative crowd, they even cleaned up after themselves,’ said LAPD Det. Paul Bishop.

For the Record: An earlier version of this posting said the rock band Rage Against the Machine performed for the crowd. The only band members who performed were guitarist Tom Morello and lead singer Zach de la Rocha.

Times Staff Writers