So now Harvey Weinstein will be in the same enviable position as United Artists executive VP of production Jeff Kleeman who I’m told has scripts “pouring” into his office after UA just competed its side deal. As Harvey told me just now, “I did it because it gives me a competitive edge.” I reported last Sunday that The Weinstein Co was negotiating a side deal with the striking Writers Guild similar to the one that UA made. Today Harvey Weinstein confirmed that he would formally announce an agreement as soon as tomorrow. (See my previous, Rumors Upon Rumors Of WGA Side Deals.)
Harvey right now is in Los Angeles doing a media blitz via back-to-back breakfasts with the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and other reporters. Sure the Big Media CEOs are saying he needs to do a WGA side deal to shore up his financially struggling production company. But Harvey tells me, “We are currently a making a shitload of money. All our movies are making money off their videos and DVDs. My flights of fancy are turning out to be oil gushers.”
Still, it’s hilariously ironic about Weinstein, who’s made screenwriters’ lives miserable throughout his career with his iron-fisted management style, now befriending the striking scribes. Weinstein told me he’s working with the WGA to “try and be a good citizen” because every crack in the producers’ armor can be considered a victory for the WGA and a defeat for the Big media companies who refuse to meet with the WGA negotiators. “This is not the right thing.”
Meanwhile, Harvey told the reporters that one project that will immediately benefit from the independent deal is Nine, a planned film from Chicago director Rob Marshall, while Anthony Minghella, who has worked with Weinstein on The English Patient and Cold Mountain, is expected to begin working on revisions of a script written by Michael Tolkin.