The email exchange occurred between Rudin and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal, in what appears to be a monumental clash of egos over upcoming films.
Sony’s computers were hacked and scores of documents and content were leaked onto the Internet, including at least five yet-to-be-released feature films, including “Still Alice,” an Oscar contender starring Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart.
The leaked emails, published today by Gawker, reveal a rare glimpse at the brass-knuckle politicking that apparently goes on behind-the-scenes as talent, and crucially, money are allocated among film projects.
Apparently no one is spared, including the sainted Jolie, who is considered Hollywood royalty.
In the exchange, Rudin appears to be lobbying Pascal to prevent Jolie from persuading David Fincher to helm her tentpole feature “Cleopatra” instead of directing “Jobs,” the Rudin-backed movie about Apple co-founder Steven Jobs.
Rudin seems to acknowledge Jolie’s power and influence. At the same time, he calls her a “camp event and a celebrity and that’s all.”
In another email, he delivers a stern warning to Pascal while riding the caps key: “YOU BETTER SHUT ANGIE DOWN BEFORE SHE MAKES IT VERY HARD FOR DAVID TO DO JOBS,” he wrote.
Pascal suggests that Rudin talk to Jolie directly, but he wants no part of her.
“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,” he writes. “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 [“Unbroken”]. 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.”
Rudin also had choice words for Pascal:
“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.”
Pascal had a terse response to Rudin in an email to a colleague: “Get rid of him,” she wrote.
Without more context, it’s hard to tell whether the emails represent true feelings or whether Rudin is just being hyperbolic to get his way.
It’s clear, however, that the emails were never meant to see the light of day and confirm the adage that if you want a friend in Hollywood, get a dog.