'Blair Witch Project' Original Stars Rally for Residuals and Creative Voice in Franchise's Future

In a bold move, the original cast of 'The Blair Witch Project' demands fair compensation, meaningful consultation, and the establishment of a grant for aspiring filmmakers following reboot announcement.

AceShowbiz - Twenty-five years after the indie horror film "The Blair Witch Project" became a cultural phenomenon, its stars Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams are igniting a public discourse on fair compensation and creative inclusion in the film industry.

In light of Lionsgate's partnership with Blumhouse to reboot the iconic franchise, the original trio has come forward with a public proposal that advocates for their rightful share of residuals, a voice in future Blair Witch projects, and a philanthropic initiative to support emerging genre filmmakers.

The actors' request centers around receiving retroactive and future residual payments equivalent to what would have been allotted through SAG-AFTRA standards, asserting a missed opportunity due to the lack of proper union or legal representation at the time of the original film's production in 1999.

Their demands extend beyond financial compensation, pushing for "meaningful consultation" on any future endeavors related to the Blair Witch lore, be it reboots, sequels, prequels, or merchandise. The trio emphasizes their unique position as "insiders" and the original creators' unutilized "secret weapon," capable of steering the franchise in a direction that resonates with fans and critics alike.

In a creative twist to their proposal, Donahue, Leonard, and Williams have asked for the inception of "The Blair Witch Grant." This initiative echoes the original film's $60,000 budget, offering a yearly grant to an aspiring genre filmmaker to aid in the creation of their first feature film. Notably, this grant would operate independently of Lionsgate, allowing the recipient full creative and proprietary rights to their work.

Supporting the actors' stance, the original filmmakers behind "The Blair Witch Project" have expressed solidarity, underscoring the indispensable contributions of Donahue, Leonard, and Williams to the franchise's legacy.

While Lionsgate has yet to respond, this groundbreaking move by the original "Blair Witch" ensemble not only highlights ongoing issues surrounding fair compensation and recognition in Hollywood but also sets a precedent for leveraging commercial success for philanthropic efforts in the arts.

As Lionsgate and Blumhouse gear up to reintroduce "The Blair Witch Project" to a new generation, the demands of its original stars pose a compelling argument for revisiting the ethics of creative ownership and legacy in contemporary filmmaking. Their unified front serves as a powerful reminder of the impact grassroots storytelling can have and the responsibility of studios to honor the contributions of those who laid the groundwork for their franchises.

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