Rudin also alleges Weinstein “once said to me, ‘If I can’t get a movie nominated that has Sydney’s and Anthony’s name on it this year, I should leave the business.’”
Of course, the ever-compliant Hollywood trades were suckered by Weinstein’s spin that Rudin was fighting The Reader’s fall release because Rudin already has two Oscar contenders this year, Doubt, and Revolutionary Road, which also stars The Reader’s leading lady, Kate Winslet (Kidman’s replacement), and didn’t want his actors or his pictures competing against themselves. The trades also tried to minimize any machinations by Weinstein by postulating that this was merely “two alpha males who have faced off many times before.”
Insiders insist to me that Weinstein’s desperation to release The Reader this year is because of the Weinstein Co.’s money woes. One of my sources heard Weinstein say that the producer can’t afford to hold The Reader and, if he can’t get it out this Christmas, then he will dump it in February. Yet puzzled insiders tell me three other film companies want to buy the pic and release it properly in 2009.
Insiders have told me that Rudin, Daldry and Winslet, in discussions with the Weinstein Co., have all threatened not to support the film. That would have been a TKO for Weinstein’s Academy Award dreams. Also, the Weinstein Co. was threatened with multiple lawsuits from lawyers repping Rudin, Daldry, and Working Title, which was ready to file a U.K. lawsuit alleging the Weinstein Co. was inducing Daldry to breach his Billy Elliot contract. Weinstein’s attorney, in turn, was also threatening to sue most of them.
Then, suddenly, on Sunday, September 28, the Weinstein Co. announced an agreement by all the parties — Weinstein, Rudin and Daldry — to move The Reader’s release date all the way to December 12. I’m told the new deal gives Daldry five more weeks for post-production on the film. Thus seemed to end what was shaping up as both an Oscar-campaign embarrassment and a legal siege.
But Weinstein couldn’t leave well enough alone.
On the night of Monday, September 29, a reporter with the New York Post’s Page Six called me saying Weinstein pledges to give $1 million to charity if I can produce the Scott Rudin e-mail containing allegations of Weinstein’s callous treatment of Minghella’s and Pollack’s families. In the Page Six article, Rudin denied he wrote the e-mail.
But later that same night, Rudin confirmed to me that it was his e-mail and claimed that Weinstein’s people pestered him “to protect Harvey and deny the e-mail and lie to Page Six” — so Rudin said he lied “in order to keep peace for the next weeks that the two of us still have to work together on The Reader.”
Needless to say, I produced the e-mail and posted it online. Now, Harvey, pay up.