Two and a half months ago (i.e., 10.2.14) it was reported that Leonardo DiCaprio had decided to pull out of playing Steve Jobs in that Aaron Sorkin-written Jobs project that Sony was going to finance and distribute. In fact DiCaprio had bailed about two weeks earlier. A newly-revealed Sony hack email exchange, dated 9.18.14, has Jobs producer Mark Gordon and Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal calling DiCaprio’s decision “horrible” and “despicable.” Okay, maybe, but movie stars get cold feet, change their minds…it happens. On the other hand it sounds as if Pascal and Gordon were basically saying they felt betrayed and angry. Which was allowable, I think, under the circumstances.
But it’s also okay for Pascal to be generally pissed off at other people and things. It’s okay to say that this actor isn’t worth what he’s being paid but this actress will soon be worth more than her quote. Unkind or ill-considered opinions are entirely permitted. All big-wheels criticize employees, freelance contractors and various partners and allies who’ve suddenly turned tail. It’s expected. Any leader who would only smile and shrug when something hurtful or stunning has happened probably wouldn’t last long in the job.
Where is it written that studio chiefs have to kiss talent’s ass 24/7 and always turn the other check and can never confide gut feelings about anything that movie stars do? Are you telling me that Daryl F. Zanuck never shared disparaging views about the conduct or character of movie stars back in the ’40s or ’50s? Or that Harry Cohn, Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer or Jack L. Warner never did the same?
A Daily Beast reader response to the latest compilation of email embarrassments: “If I were a Sony exec, I’d be writing these same e-mails. Just because Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith make money doesn’t mean Smith’s kids aren’t egotistical little brats and Leo isn’t a pig. All corporate executives talk about their employees this way. They also think next-to-nothing about underpaying their female employees, even when they are Oscar-winners who can open a movie by themselves. I’m amused by reading this stuff but it doesn’t even make me raise an eyebrow, let alone shock me.”