Producer departs Weinstein Co. film

After a long and bruising battle with Harvey Weinstein over Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader,” producer Scott Rudin is leaving the project and taking his name off the film.

Weinstein and Rudin have never gotten along. They clashed over Daldry’s 2002 “The Hours,” also written by David Hare, and again over the post-production schedule of “The Reader.”

Rudin, the winner of the best picture Oscar for last year’s “No Country for Old Men,” had first tried to push the World War II romance starring Kate Winslet back to 2009, because he didn’t want to campaign for an Oscar along with “Doubt” and “Revolutionary Road,” which also stars Winslet.

Rudin fought hard to get more post-production time and support for his director, who is prepping the November 13 opening of the musical “Billy Elliot” on Broadway. When Weinstein insisted on holding Daldry to his promise to release the movie in 2008 if it tested well enough in previews, Rudin and Daldry finally agreed to deliver the film for a Dec. 12 release.

The battle over getting Daldry more weeks of editing time and moving scoring sessions to New York grew so intense that both sides hired top-notch legal counsel, who sent a series of high-pitched letters that were leaked to the press, along with Daldry’s heartfelt pleas to Weinstein for more editing time.

“We have given Stephen Daldry every resource to finish the picture and will continue to do so,” said one Weinstein Co. spokeswoman.

During the battle, both sides have tried to invoke the post-mortem support of late producers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella.

The Weinstein Co. described the situation as “unfolding” and said that another producer on the pic, Donna Gigliotti (“Shakespeare in Love”) was “capable of finishing the movie.”

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