Variety‘s Michael Fleming has written that “insiders have been surprised to find WB brass aggressively courting New Line production prexy Toby Emmerich to run a scaled-down version of New Line” on the Warner Bros. lot. Except Fleming doesn’t explain why the surprise. Is it because running a vastly scaled-down operation is being seen by industry players as a comedown for Emmerich?
No, says an insider I spoke to this morning. “Why would [WB production chief Jeff] Robinov want a New Line player in there?,” he asks. “His way of doing things is to put his own people into posts, like putting Polly Cohen into the top Warner Independent job. It’s all about control for him. He’s about protecting his own turf. Mark Gill would be the first one to tell you that.”
An independent producer has another view. “Tobey was never been popular in the town, not at first anyway, in part because Mike DeLuca [the previous New Line production president] was so popular,” she says. “He doesn’t return a lot of phone calls, or didn’t. He became imperial overnight and people were saying ‘who the hell’s this guy’? Now, things evened out over time but he didn’t start out well.
“Since then Tobey has gotten very good politically at being one of the guys, and that’s what works in this town. Clearing out out the house is quid pro quo when a company is revamped or taken over, but the new chiefs usually hold on to at least one person who knows the history of the projects and knows the talent, and that person tends to be the weakest and most non-threatening of all.”