Harvey Weinstein Just Lost A $1 Million Bet

Ryan Tate · 09/29/08 11:15PM

What was Harvey Weinstein thinking? The movie mogul is already being dissed by once-pliant reporters and magazines, and struggling to right his company and other investments. Now he's given more ammunition to the haters and socked his pocketbook, all in one fast miscalculation. The Weinstein Company chief reportedly told the Post's Page Six he doubted the authenticity of an email quoted by aggressive Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke, and offered $1 million for charity if Finke could produce the original. The email, from movie producer Scott Rudin, concerned a feud over the release date of Kate Winslet vehicle The Reader. Page Six called Finke tonight and guess what? She has the email, and has already posted it. UPDATE: Rudin told Page Six Finke is lying. UPDATE 2: Rudin admits he lied to Page Six! See below.

Kate Winslet Oscar Bait Doubles Overnight as Weinsteins Bump Up 'The Reader'

STV · 08/28/08 01:10PM

The last news we'd heard about Kate Winslet's post-WWII drama The Reader was less than reassuring: While the film ultimately got its first choice of leading lady after a pregnant Nicole Kidman backed out, the successive passings of co-producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack left Scott Rudin on his own with the broke-ass Weinsteins to maneuver the Oscar push everyone had in mind. Then, as recently as last month, Defamer operatives whispered that The Reader wouldn't make it to 2008 at all, instead landing somewhere of TWC's choosing in 2009 — if it could afford to release it at all. Today, however, brings renewed optimism from Harvey, who planted a sigh of relief in Variety that The Reader has legs:

Oscar-Winning Director Sydney Pollack Dead at 73

STV · 05/26/08 09:50PM

Sydney Pollack, the director, producer and actor whose 1985 drama Out of Africa earned him that year's Best Picture and Director Oscars, died today at his home in Pacific Palisades. He was 73. He had suffered from cancer for more than a year, completing his final film — the documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry — in 2005. Pollack worked at the helm of benchmarks in three decades including They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (for which he earned his first Oscar nomination), The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor and Tootsie. He found his most significant acclaim after directing Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa, going on to work with Tom Cruise (The Firm), Harrison Ford (Sabrina, Random Hearts) and Nicole Kidman (The Interpreter) in the years that followed.

STV · 04/01/08 12:52PM

In a fairly unprecedented move for a film critic at a major publication, New York Magazine's David Edelstein issued an apology for his eulogy last week attributing late filmmaker Anthony Minghella's artistic slump to the meddling of his studio backer (and good friend) Harvey Weinstein. "I had decided to eat shit even before Harvey called," Edelstein wrote today. Wait — Harvey actually called? "Yes, he called — did you think he wouldn't?" Edelstein continued. "He was the soul of politeness, believe it or not. He said he cried for hours when he got the news. He said Minghella came to him with most of the projects. He said despite his 'Harvey Scissorhands' reputation, Minghella was not a man whose work you recut." Edelstein (who also noted Defamer's reaction at the time) later reaffirmed his right to give Harvey shit at a later time, to which we hear Weinstein recommended the Oct. 31 release date of Kevin Smith's latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. [NYM]

Minghella's Hand-Picked Replacement Kapur to Take Over Unfinished Project

STV · 03/25/08 05:18PM

Filmmaker Anthony Minghella is staying in the news a week after his death, with Defamer learning that Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur will complete Minghella's portion of the currently filming omnibus project New York, I Love You. A rep for the project confirmed that Minghella handpicked Kapur prior to undergoing the fateful March 18 operation to treat his tonsil cancer. "He knew he was going into surgery and was unsure of whether or not he would recover fast enough to be able to direct the film," Defamer was told this afternoon. "The production team obviously all hoped Anthony would recover, but they were relieved he had chosen someone of his own to direct the piece he wrote. It worked out well for all the parties."

Pyrrhic Victories

Richard Lawson · 03/25/08 12:44PM

The first installment of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency debuted to very strong numbers in the UK over the weekend. The show was recently picked up by HBO for a 13 episode American run, but following director and executive producer Anthony Minghella's sudden passing, the fate of the series seems a bit uncertain. In related news, HBO's unlucky (and now morbid) streak continues. [Variety]

Last Film Still Up In Air as Colleagues Remember Anthony Minghella

STV · 03/18/08 02:08PM

Details regarding director Anthony Minghella's sudden death early this morning are finally emerging, with the official cause of death now listed as a brain hemorrhage, which may have been a result of surgery he had several days ago to remove a growth in his neck. Harvey Weinstein, a longtime collaborator of Minghella's who distributed all five of his theatrical features in the States (ultimately handling his final film, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, as a TV pilot with HBO and the BBC), issued a poignant remembrance to Variety:

What We'll Miss About Anthony Minghella

Richard Lawson · 03/18/08 09:58AM

Terrible news about English filmmaker Anthony Minghella's death. Some criticized him for the high-gloss of his pictures, but really that just seemed emblematic of a certain admirable style, a visual elegance that was traditional and constant in today's jump cut, shaky camera auteur scene. In the films he wrote and directed, from the supernatural romance Truly Madly Deeply, to his masterpiece The Talented Mr. Ripley, to his last, curious effort Breaking & Entering, Minghella (who also produced and worked extensively in television) showed the passion of a true devotee of the medium. His technique may have lacked a certain zingy flair, but that was made up for by a refreshing lack of cynicism. Minghella's films brimmed with sincerity, a commodity that, especially today, feels pretty rare. After the jump, find some clips of his work.

Breaking: Director Anthony Minghella Dead at 54

STV · 03/18/08 08:36AM

Sad news from London this morning reveals that Anthony Minghella, who in 1996 won an Oscar for directing The English Patient, has passed away. He was 54. Minghella's death was confirmed this morning by his agent Judy Daish; no further details on the cause are currently available.

Another Filmmaker Flees Film

Richard Lawson · 03/10/08 10:15AM

Because the studios have forgotten how to make good movies and indies don't pay shit, talented and interesting filmmakers continue to trot on over to television. The latest is Anthony Minghella, the auteur behind The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and the way underrated Breaking & Entering (among others), who has a pilot that's just been picked up by HBO. His The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, about crime solving women in Botswana (adapted from Alexander McCall Smith's books), has received a thirteen episode order from the cable network (which is producing in conjunction with the Weinstein Company and the BBC.)

Directed by Harvey Weinstein

Gawker · 03/05/03 08:39AM

Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein has been saying for years that several of his movies would have been better if he had directed them. Now he's getting his chance. He's currently working on "Mila 18" with screenwriter Hossein Amini. The film will be produced and edited by Martin Scorsese and Anthony Minghella and directed by Harvey Weinstein. Harvey to Hollywood: I can't direct? Wait, how many Oscar nominations did my films get this year? How many? I'm sorry, I can't hear you. How many? Oh, right. Nearly all of them. I'm pretty sure I could cast myself in Catherine Zeta-Jones' Chicago role at this point and no one would blink. Hear that, Disney?
Weinstein planning to make directorial debut [Zap2it]