Angry and passionate email exchanges between major Hollywood players have been exposed by the recent hack into Sony Pictures.
Producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal were working together on a biopic of Steve Jobs written by Aaron Sorkin, until the studio pulled out last month. Progress had already been fairly tortuous, with David Fincher pulling out as director, then Christian Bale as star – they were replaced with Danny Boyle and, tentatively, Michael Fassbender. Universal have now picked up the project.
In the wake of Sony’s decision to leave the film, Rudin reportedly emailed Pascal to tell her: “You’ve destroyed your relationships with half the town over how you’ve behaved on this movie, and if you don’t think it’s true, wait and see… you don’t deserve one exhalation of breath on your behalf. You’ve behaved abominably and it will be a very, very long time before I forget what you did to this movie and what you’ve put all of us through.” The pair had worked together on critically and commercially successful movies like The Social Network and Captain Phillips; Rudin has won an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony for his productions.
Thanks to sifting by the Defamer blog, the emails reveal the arguments began back in February, after Angelina Jolie wanted Fincher to direct her in Cleopatra, rather than take on the Jobs film. Rudin tells Pascal to “shut Angie down before she makes it very hard for David to do Jobs.” Despite acknowledging Cleopatra could be a “big commercial hit”, Rudin then escalated his opposition to the film, writing: “There is no movie of Cleopatra to be made (and how that is a bad thing given the insanity and rampaging ego of this woman and the cost of the movie is beyond me),” referring to Jolie. “Watch how you talk to me,” he says to Pascal, prompting her response: “Don’t fucking threaten me.”
Another Rudin email also attacks Jolie, calling her a “a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie [Unbroken]… She’s a camp event and a celebrity and that’s all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming.”
Other titbits include a conversation about Michael Fassbender for the part of Jobs – Michael DeLuca, president of production at Sony studio Columbia, writes that Fassbender’s role in Shame “just makes you feel bad to have normal-sized male genitalia.” David Fincher meanwhile told Pascal that the casting of Adam Driver in Star Wars was a “terrible idea,” while Rudin also attacked Her and True Grit producer Megan Ellison, calling her a “bipolar 28 year old lunatic”.
Conversations with agents were also revealed, as stars including Tom Cruise, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio were put forward for roles in the Jobs film.
In the end, the Sony-Jobs deal seems to have fallen apart thanks to lack of financing from partners including Ellison and New Regency, with Sony exec Doug Belgrad finally telling Pascal: “I love the script but I can’t do this to the company.”
In other emails raked over by the Wall Street Journal, Pascal said that Marvel considered featuring Spider-Man in its upcoming Captain America sequel, and that Marvel and Sony would collaborate on a new Spider-Man trilogy – the talks later broke down, with Sony going alone with the character. Possible plans now include an animated adventure helmed by the creators of The Lego Movie.
The hacked emails were revealed as a result of an attack by the group Guardians of Peace, who have demanded that Sony’s upcoming North Korea-baiting comedy The Interview go unreleased.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Photo by Gage Skidmore