In the latest fallout from the cyber-attack saga that’s enveloping Sony Pictures, a nasty exchange between studio co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin, and an ugly bashing by the hard-charging producer of key figures in the industry, including Angelina Jolie and financier Megan Ellison, appeared in several emails that leaked online Tuesday.
At the center of the fiery back-and-forth conversation between Pascal and Rudin, from Feb. 27 to Nov. 19 of this year, is the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin. According to the emails, Jolie objected to David Fincher directing the “Jobs” film instead of her big-budget remake of “Cleopatra.” Pascal asked Rudin, a producer on “Jobs,” to talk to the Oscar-winning actress about it, but Rudin said he didn’t “want to waste [his] time on this.”
“YOU BETTER SHUT ANGIE DOWN BEFORE SHE MAKES IT VERY HARD FOR DAVID TO DO JOBS,” Rudin said in one email, presumably referring to Jolie, to which Pascal told him not to threaten her.
He repeatedly criticized the idea of Jolie’s “Cleopatra” movie, calling Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” and said the big-budget project could jeopardize both his and Pascal’s careers.
The Steve Jobs film eventually moved from Sony to Universal Pictures.
“I’m not remotely interested in presiding over a $180m ego bath that we both know will be the career-defining debacle for us both,” reads one email from Rudin. “I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie. I have no desire to be making a movie with her, or anybody, that she runs and that we don’t. She’s a camp event and a celebrity and that’s all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming. We will end up being the laughing stock of our industry and we will deserve it, which is so clearly where this is headed that I cannot believe we are still wasting our time with it.”
Continuing to slam Pascal, Rudin also wrote: “You’ve destroyed your relationships with half the town over how you’ve behaved on this movie,” Rudin wrote to Pascal. “If you don’t think it’s true, wait and see. Let’s see the next filmmaker WME puts in business at Sony or the next piece of star talent. I’ll bet my house I’m right.”
According to Gawker, Pascal forwarded another rant from Rudin about the movie moving to Universal to a colleague, telling that executive: “Get rid of him.” Rudin moved his overall producing deal to Sony, where he had made the 2010 hit “The Social Network,” in June 2011 and has also produced for the studio such movies as “Moneyball,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Captain Phillips” and “The Dictator.”
Rudin’s emails also took aim at Ellison, whose Annapurna Pictures had wanted to finance the Jobs movie when it was at Sony.
He referred to Ellison as a “bipolar 28-year-old lunatic” and implied that she needed to take her “meds” to get the production off the ground.
Ellison responded to Rudin’s rude remark on Twitter, showing a sense of humor.
Bipolar 28 year old lunatic..? I always thought of myself more as eccentric. pic.twitter.com/EYKyXOGUEb
— Megan Ellison (@meganeellison) December 10, 2014
In one email screenshot published by Gawker, David Fincher jokingly took a shot Adam Driver, calling him a “horrible idea” for the villain role in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
With all of these explosive comments made public, it’s possible that crucial relationships involved could be damaged. A group calling itself Guardians of Peace has been targeting Sony Pictures since Nov. 24, resulting in the leak of confidential information about executive and star salaries, movie budgets and employees’ personal information. The group also released five new Sony movies on torrent sites, including the upcoming titles “Annie” and “Still Alice.”
A Sony spokesperson declined comment.