In light of WikiLeaks shocking publication of over 170,000 internal Sony Pictures emails on Tuesday, the studio faces new embarrassment from conversations between Michael Lynton, Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin over top acting talent, high-stakes financial deals, creative disagreements and executive ties to political and military groups.
The data, which has been indexed as a fully searchable archive on WikiLeaks, was sourced from the devastating cyberattack on the studio in November 2014. The site’s founder Julian Assange qualified the publication of the material as showing “the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict… It belongs in the public domain.”
Sony blasted WikiLeaks’ position, saying they “vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security and privacy of our company.”
Here some of the initial findings from WikiLeaks’ Sony Hack archive:
1. RAND Corp Advised Sony on North Korea and “The Interview”
In June 2014, long before the Sony hack would rock the studio, a North Korean spokesman called “The Interview’ a “wanton act of terror.” The movie’s star Seth Rogen responded to the comments with a tweet, prompting an email from Sony PR chief Charlie Sipkins, saying he “was told not to engage.”
2. Red, White and Green: Amy Pascal‘s $66,000 Trip to D.C.
In October 2014, former co-chairman Pascal jetted to Washington, D.C., for the premiere of David Ayer‘s “Fury,” starring Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf. The two day excursion totaled out $66,350 for car services, air travel and suite at the swanky St. Regis hotel.
3. Rooney Mara Asks Amy Pascal: Is ‘Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel Ever Coming?
Even Rooney Mara is tired of Sony’s maybe, maybe-not stance on putting on sequels to their “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” adaptations. “Logic tells me they are not ever happening- as it’s been almost 3 years since it came out,” she acknowledges in an e-mail to Pascal in October 2014. “But I had still been holding out a little bit of hope.”
4. Drew Goddard Vs. Daredevil Vs. Spider-Man
Before the May 24, 2014 announcement that show-runner Drew Goddard was dropping out of Netflix’s “Daredevil,” things got difficult and litigious for Marvel, Sony and Goddard’s team. “It looks like they are giving us no choice but to litigate this matter,” Marvel TV EVP Jeph Loeb wrote in an e-mail in April.
In a followup e-mail, Marvel’s Ike Perlmutter forwards the Loeb e-mail to Pascal and adds even more panic: “Since we spoke on Wednesday, the problem we are having with Drew Goddard is getting even worse…We should both be very concerned about this situation.”
5. Sony’s Wish List of Replacements for Fired PR Chief Charlie Sipkins
After the studio’s top communications exec exited the company in September, Sony went on the hunt for the next spokesman of their company. High on their wishlist: top executives from rival film companies, Disney’s Paul Roeder (No. 1), Kori Bernards from Universal (No. 5) and WME’s Christian Muirhead (No. 3).
6. David O. Russell Abuse and Lynton’s Brother in Law
In a September 2014 email journalist and Lynton brother-in-law Jonathan Alter notes to Lynton that “American Hustle” director David O. Russell was abusive on set to the point that Christian Bale needed to intervene. “He grabbed one guy by the collar, cursed out people repeatedly in front of others and…abused Amy Adams,” said Alter. “Just figured you might not always get the Intell (sic) you need if you were considering signign him for another film.”
7. Scott Rudin on Angelina Jolie‘s ‘Cleopatra’ Preparation: ‘Kill Me Please’
In December, leaks revealed producer Scott Rudin having harsh words about Angelina Jolie. New e-mails uncovered have reiterated his distaste for the actress-turned-director. “Kill me please. Immediately,” he said in an e-mail to Pascal in June 2014 when he learned she was studying films of potential directors for a “Cleopatra” film in development.
8. Tom Rothman vs. Harvey Weinstein: Festival Smackdown
A May 2014 email shows Tristar Chairman Tom Rothman sizing up competitor Harvey Weinstein — in this case over buying the ill-fated “Grace of Monaco.”
“As we battle Harvey and his volume/buy everything strategy, it is worth noting this example for what it really is–a straight re-neg,” Rothman said. “The deal was 5, he will pay 3 [because] he himself tarnished the goods and he knows no one else will take it now. One of the many risks sellers take when they deal with him.”
9. David Fincher Thinks Sony Has a Leak Problem
In an e-mail with the subject line “Well it ain’t ME,” the almost-“Jobs” director puts the blame of the many leaks on the negotiations for that film on the studio. “I had 15 meetings with Rosamund Pike and her DEAL CLOSED before Variety OR The Reporter ever ran a single blurb,” he said. “This is a CONTINUAL PROBLEM WITH SONY.”
10. Amy’s In Love with “Aloha”
It’s not all bad news in the data dump. Cameron Crowe‘s upcoming “Aloha” is under pressure to perform financially and connect with audiences the way his classics have. Pascal responded strongly to an initial screening, praising Bradley Cooper and demanding a “movie star” edit for Emma Stone.