A Hit for Ovitz 

Spoof video takes on the fallen Disney prez

Wednesday, Oct 16 2002

Packages wrapped in fuchsia tulle (”because pink was way too obvious“) began arriving around Hollywood by messenger. Inside was a videotape labeled My Dinner With Ovitz, a 12-minute homage to The Godfather, distributed in a limited edition of 75 by two L.A. 40-somethings, director-writer Steve Young and producer Denise David, the owner-president of MakeMagic Productions. Shot with a DV cam over a few days (”for a lot less than one of David Geffen‘s car payments“), the spoof was born in July when Young read Michael Ovitz’s notorious Vanity Fair interview claiming the industry‘s ”gay mafia“ ruined him. ”What’s the hottest topic in Hollywood right now?“ Young asked David. ”Ovitz,“ she replied. Three days later, Young handed her a 15-page script, and David said, ”Let‘s do it.“

Next, David roped in every friend, including famed New York fashion designer David Goodman, in town to do a trunk show. ”I knew he could pull off David Geffen,“ she recalls. The actors mimic Geffen’s indignation, Michael Eisner‘s sarcasm, Barry Diller’s bossiness and Ron Meyer‘s common sense. In fact, Young was shocked when Meyer called to say, ”Me and Geffen were pissing in our pants. It was brilliant.“ As for Ovitz, Young admits, ”We might have forgotten to send him one.“

Right now, the video isn’t for commercial use because the filmmakers borrowed liberally from other sources. (Joking about lawsuits, Denise David would tell Young: ”If you want me, I‘ll be in my cell, er, on my cell.“) As Young notes, ”We didn’t do this to get a development deal, but we enjoy dinner at The Ivy.“ The best bits begin with the obligatory horse‘s-head-in-the-bed scene -- a bodyless Mickey Mouse and a shrieking Eisner. Then a sunglasses-sporting gang of moguls reads the magazine interview:

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DILLER: ”You’re not serious? Wow. He actually said that on record? Wow.“

GEFFEN, in a pink sweater: ”It‘s beyond crazy. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 11.“

EISNER: ”Tell me about it. It cost me $150 million to get rid of his ass.“ [In 1995, Eisner hired -- then 14 months later fired -- his best friend Ovitz as president of the Walt Disney Co. Eisner gave Ovitz an enormous severance package. But it may not have amounted to much. A Disney source last January claimed Ovitz had not yet exercised his 9 million stock options. Ovitz‘s deadline was the end of September of this year, but Disney stock on September 30 closed at only $15.14, well below Ovitz’s strike price of $19.]

DILLER: ”This guy‘s got to be stopped.“

MEYER: ”Barry, nobody’s ever whacked a superagent.“

DILLER: ”Maybe it‘s about time.“

GEFFEN: ”Let me take a meeting. Have Ovitz choose the location. Now, we insist it’s a public place. Rage [pretty-boy dance bar]. Spike [down-and-dirty leather bar]. Somewhere where there‘s people, so I feel safe. They’re going to search me when I first get there, right, so I can‘t have a weapon on me then. But if Barry can figure a way to have a weapon planted there for me . . .“

EISNER: ”What, do you think this is the music business, where you just have a drive-by?“

GEFFEN: ”Where does it say that you can’t kill an agent? I‘m not talking about some schmuck at UTA. I’m talking an agent who‘ll be getting what’s coming to him. There‘s a terrific story. We’ve got Variety and the Reporter on the payroll, don‘t we, Ron?

MEYER: “Of course.”


EISNER, over lunch in Malibu, hearing the meeting is set up at the Mother Lode [a T-shirt-and-jeans gay hangout]. “Anybody heard of this joint?”

GEFFEN: “I think I’ve heard of it.”

DILLER: “It‘s perfect.”

EISNER: “What about the gun?”

DILLER: “We’ll do what we always do: We tape it to the back of the toilet.”

MEYER: “David, you go into the restaurant. You eat. You talk. Maybe you dance a while. You relax. You get them to relax. Then you get up and you go take a leak. No, better still, you ask him for permission to go. Then, when you come back, you come out blasting.”

DILLER: “Hey, listen. I want somebody very good to plant that gun. I don‘t want David walking out of that bathroom with just his dick in his hand. All right?”

JOE ESZTERHAS, from a pool lounge: “The gun will be there.” [When he wanted to leave CAA for ICM in 1989, this once-talented screenwriter wrote an infamous letter accusing Ovitz of threats and intimidation.] “And then you’ll get my script out of turnaround, right?”

MEYER: “Yes, Joe.”

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