Producer Joel Silver Fired From Amazon Films Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Wahlberg Over Verbal Abuse Allegations

The studio cut ties with the star producer of 1980s hits like “Lethal Weapon” and “Predator”

Joel Silver attends Celebrating Greatness: Canada’s Walk of Fame 2022 in Toronto
Getty Images

Amazon Studios has fired producer Joel Silver from at least two films — one starring Mark Wahlberg and the other Jake Gyllenhaal — over verbal abuse allegations, according to an insider with knowledge of the situation.

The studio cut ties with the star producer of 1980s hits like “Lethal Weapon” and “Predator.” Silver was producing the remake of the 1989 action film “Road House” with Gyllenhaal starring for Amazon that was almost complete until the SAG-AFTRA strike started in July. Silver initally produced the 1989 original at United Artists.

Silver fullfilled his obligations on “Road House” and is also no longer producing “Play Dirty.” That project is an adaptation of the popular “Parker” crime novels written by Donald E. Westlake under the pen name Richard Stark. Wahlberg is eyeing the project to potentially star. 

Silver is legendary in Hollywood for his volatile temper and abusive behavior toward assistants over many decades of high profile work. However despite a reckoning in Hollywood since 2017 that has sidelined many executives with reputations for toxic behavior, Silver has continued to work.

“As Amazon readily admits, Joel Silver completed all of his services on Road House and was not relieved of his duties, terminated or fired from his services on Road House,” Bryan Freedman, Joel Silver’s attorney said in a statement to TheWrap. “He finished the film and did an excellent job. With respect to ‘Play Dirty,’ as agreed to by Amazon, Joel was in no way terminated with or for cause on that picture. None of this is in dispute. To say he was fired is irresponsible and defamatory.”

According to Variety, which first reported the news, “Silver was allegedly incensed over the release strategy of ‘Road House,’ a reboot of an action film that helped solidify Patrick Swayze’s star power back in the late ’80s.”

The remake directed by Doug Liman has Gyllenhaal starring as a former UFC fighter working at a Florida bar. The remake will be released in 2024 as a streaming title under Amazon’s MGM label.

Silver wanted “Road House” to be released in theaters. But the movie will stream online instead. Even though Silver won’t be part of marketing or distribution now, he will still get a producer credit since filming is finished.

On “Play Dirty,” Robert Downey Jr. was originally going to star in the project. Downey is still involved as a producer with his Team Downey banner. He had left the “Play Dirty” project long before the issues with producer Joel Silver. The movie was going to reunite Silver with writer-director Shane Black, who worked with Silver on films like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” which starred Downey. Other projects Black and Silver worked on include “The Nice Guys,” ’80s action hit “Predator,” and Black’s first screenplay “Lethal Weapon.”

Silver has over 60 highly successful films under his belt, including big franchises like “Die Hard.” He also produced the long-running “Tales From the Crypt” TV show.

Amazon declined to comment.

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