After his kamikaze clash with New Line Cinema over his 1998 feature directorial debut, “American History X,” British director Tony Kaye says he’s ready to return to the Hollywood fold.
Kaye alienated studios with a series of stunning publicity stunts — insisting his name be taken off the pic and replaced with “Humpty Dumpty”; buying contentious ads in newspapers; arriving at a New Line meeting in the company of a rabbi, a priest and a Buddhist monk.
After much soul-searching, however, the helmer says he has come to his senses.
“I didn’t articulate myself at the time because I was so intimidated by the movie world,” he says.
Kaye, 50, says he was an “emotional cripple” during the making of “X” and was so traumatized by the experience he literally didn’t talk on the phone for a year afterward.
Kaye’s newfound humility may be construed as another performance by a maverick self-publicist — one who, after Sept. 11, began performing a comedy sketch in New York impersonating Osama bin Laden.
He insists he’s sincere: “I want to be a solid member of the community. That was always my plan.”
Kaye recently secluded himself at his L.A. studio and home in Bel-Air to complete a $5 million self-financed documentary on abortion, “G-D,” more than 10 years in the making.
“Our hope is to finish it this summer,” says Kaye’s longtime friend and Palomar Pix CEO Joni Sighvatsson. Doc will likely be presented to fall fests.
Meanwhile, self-described “reality freak” Kaye has put $2 million of his own coin into “Lobby Lobster,” a feature documenting the travails of an actor Kaye paid to become a stand-up comedian.
Is Hollywood ready for his comeback?
Everyone is waiting to see if the “X” man has really learned a “History” lesson.