By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Despite the negative things I’d written, Harvey was friendly, almost deferential. Because his 2-year-old company needs every media friend it can co-opt.
So, on the end of the receiver was Humble Harv, not Horrible Harv, apologizing for the film’s abject failure. (“I’m incredibly disappointed.”) Admitting the movie was too long. (“It was the biggest single deterrent.”) Acknowledging that he’d messed up the marketing. (“We didn’t educate the South or Midwest.”) Copping to the error of opening as a double-feature film instead of releasing it as two separate movies like he’s planning overseas. (“We tried to do something new, and obviously we didn’t do it that well.”) Fessing that he’d been focused on building his company and not moviemaking. (“We wanted to diversify immediately. This Cannes, I’m going to change all that. Now I have to go back to being Harvey.”)
“Back to being Harvey”? Oh, God, no.
Back in 1999, Weinstein demanded my presence at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills to face his wrath over a New York Magazine Oscar column I’d written accusing him of using dirty tricks to ensure his Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan. (Of course, Weinstein had sicced his lawyers on the mag, which did its best to soften the piece nearly beyond recognition despite my threats to quit or go public.)
Weinstein ordered me into a windowless room and, for the next 90 minutes, screamed at me nonstop. The scene had a Clockwork Orange surrealness to it, mostly because I sat mute with my sunglasses on indoors. Until he swore on the life of his children that he hadn’t done the things I’d reported. At which point, I erupted into guffaws, as did Mark Gill, then the West Coast president of Miramax.
Weinstein looked at us both with daggers. “Why are you laughing?” he asked.
“Do you want to tell him?” I asked Gill.
“You see, Harvey, that was Mike Ovitz’s favorite phrase,” Gill explained. “Every time he said it, Hollywood knew he was lying.”
Finally, Weinstein placed his face three inches away from mine. “You think I’m all about money, don’t you?” he asked.
“No, Harvey,” I replied. “You used to be all about money. Now, you’re all about respect. And if you keep acting like this, you’re not going to get it. Trust me.”
With that, he dismissed me with a wave of his hand.Cesspool of Self-Promo
There are few reality-TV shows more faked than MTV’s The Hills, set in Los Angeles. So, naturally, it’s being renewed for a third season starting this summer. It reached something insane like 60 million viewers. But I wonder how many would have fled if they’d known what a cesspool of self-promotion and cross-promotion the series’ so-called stars are.
First, Heidi Montag, the blond nightclub promoter, used the show to score herself a record deal. Turns out she’s an aspiring singer recording a pop album with bigtime music producer David Foster for release later this year. (Now, Foster just happens to be the soon-to-be-ex-stepfather of Brody Jenner, best friend of Spencer Pratt, who has been Heidi’s boyfriend since the summer of 2006.) Spencer got a lot of inexplicable face time on this second season of The Hills. Here’s why: Heidi is now a client of Spencer’s management company, which also reps Brody. Because of the connection, Brody also got a lot of inexplicable face time on The Hills. (Foster, along with Spencer and Brody, were all featured on the Fox reality TV show The Princes of Malibu, which was yanked after only two episodes.)
Heidi met Spencer through ex–Laguna Beach star Kristin Cavallari, who was then dating Brody. This is the same Spencer-and-Brody tag team shamed by Details magazine for concocting a scheme whereby Brody would rise to fame by dating Nicole Richie and getting her to eat. Because of The Hills, Brody may now be getting his own faked reality-TV show about his love life, courtesy of MTV.
Meanwhile, the star of The Hillsand intern at Teen Vogue, Lauren Conrad (ex–Laguna Beach), just scored a gig flogging Avon’s teen-targeted Mark cosmetics. And she also clinched a clothing deal to hawk those unflattering floaty dresses and stupid headbands she wears on the show. Last month, she and MTV announced the launch of a real-world fashion line scheduled to hit high-end boutiques, retail stores and online sellers later this fall. Notice the timing? It’ll be right around the end of The Hills’ third season.
Of course, none of this self-promo and cross-promo has ever made it on camera.
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