Disney script travels around Hollywood

There’s a hot script making the rounds of the Hollywood studios. According to the cover page, “Two Blind Mice” is “based on the true story of Michael Eisner & Mike Ovitz and their time at Disney together.” The first draft, “by anonymous,” is 134 pages of juicy Shakespearean drama about these two erstwhile friends-turned-enemies.

But it turns out the screenplay isn’t exactly new. Rather, it’s a piece written by Frederic Raphael (“Eyes Wide Shut”) around the time of the 2004 Delaware trial, the culmination of a suit brought by Disney shareholders protesting Disney chairman Eisner’s $140 million severance payment to ex-lieutenant Ovitz, who departed the company in 1997 after less than two years.

“Two Blind Mice,” based both on trial transcripts and original reporting, was on track to be made at Showtime. But the cabler passed on it about a year ago, citing the demise of the two-hour movie, said Jerry Leider, who is producing the project with Richard Waltzer. (Leider had always imagined John Lithgow in the role of Eisner.)

The script is full of delicious bits, including Eisner explaining on the stand why he called Ovitz a “psychopath” and a scene of Ovitz — having refused to ride in the company bus to a Disney World retreat — lost in his limo calling Eisner, on the bus, for directions.

Waltzer said he’s “truly baffled and intrigued” as to why a PDF file of an anonymous version of the script is popping up in studio emails. He and Leider, along with manager Mike Marcus, have been shopping the project with little success. “We made it much too close to the events,” Leider said. The project “needs three to four years of air, a window between the real world and the time it gets made. Its time might come.”

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