There’s nothing much to add to Patrick Goldstein‘s story (posted late yesterday afternoon) about powerhouse producer Scott Rudin walking away from The Reader (Weinstein Co., 12.12), the David Hare-scripted WWII drama with Kate Winslet.

I know that Rudin and Reader director Stephen Daldry are allies and amigos, having worked together on The Hours (which was also written by Hare). And that Daldry is pretty much on his own in the rush to finish The Reader in time for the early December release date that Harvey Weinstein has been pushing for all along. On top of which Daldry has also been directing the Billy Elliot musical on Broadway, which is currently in previews.
Rudin has been “embroiled for weeks in a nasty squabble with Weinstein over the release date of the film,” Goldstein notes, and “has [finally] decided to quit the project and take his name off the film. The two men have had a very contentious public feud over Weinstein’s insistence that the film be released this year for Oscar consideration.
“Rudin and Daldry had insisted they needed more time to finish the picture. After intense negotiations, they eventually agreed late last month that, in return for Weinstein putting up more money for round-the-clock editing, scoring sessions and optical work, Daldry would finish the film in time for a Dec. 12th release.
“In recent days, negotiations had apparently taken a turn for the worse. Upset with Weinstein and worried that many of his long-standing talent relationships would be harmed, Rudin decided to separate himself from the project. Daldry remains contractually obligated to complete the film, though it’s uncertain of how he will complete the film without Rudin, a longtime collaborator with both Daldry and Hare.
“There have been constant rumors that the Weinstein Co., whose hits have been few and far between, has financial problems which may have contributed to Rudin’s departure. It’s also possible that the two men simply can’t put their personal differences aside long enough to get the movie into theaters. Whatever the root cause, this is another body blow to The Reader, which loses a strong producer who is always a major force during awards season. Rudin will continue as producer of two other year-end pictures, Revolutionary Road and Doubt.”
A trusted Manhattan guy tells me the Weinsteins are relying on producer Donna Gigliotti to be their onsite person as far as working with Daldry and his editing crew on the completion of the film. Except Daldry and the entire team “despise her,” “won’t deal with her” and “regard her as a [Weinstein] stooge.”
Movie production people love their conflict dramas, of course. On any shoot or post-production push people always seem to be spreading the word about this or that person being a stooge or a stopper or an enemy figure of some kind, or at least into giving each other dagger looks. So the Daldry-Gigliotti thing is just another variation on a theme.