I’m shocked by the incredibly long and in-depth and unsurvivable story and video (see below) from today’s Boston Globe about David Kirkpatrick, the ex-Hollywood mogul who once upon a time was a big deal at Disney and Paramount until his 1991 firing which brought a smile to the face of a long list of enemies back then. I found him to be a prick of the first order. But I had no idea he’d come to such a miserable end in Massachusetts by dreaming big, promising big, and then failing big for a $650M “Hollywood East”. According to the newspaper, he lost virtually all of his wealth over the last decade, and had been reduced to making small-time videos — “Merry Christmas Babies’’ sold 23 copies — and had found Jesus when his sad saga started. The Globe article begins:
David P. Kirkpatrick seemed to relish the role of big-shot Hollywood insider as he briefed state development officials about his bold plan to challenge Tinseltown at its own game.
And the former head of Paramount Motion Pictures certainly sounded like the right man to build a huge movie and TV studio in Massachusetts. He talked about how he helped bring “Forrest Gump’’ to life. He casually referred to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as “the kids.’’
By the time Kirkpatrick left that first meeting in August 2006, state officials were practically ready to break out the champagne, according to two people who were there. A few months later, the state dangled the prospect of more than $100 million in tax breaks and other benefits to Kirkpatrick’s team.
So began one of the most buzz-generating projects in recent state history, a $650 million plan to build 14 sound stages and a virtual entertainment city in the woods of Plymouth, making Massachusetts the production center for countless movies and TV shows. Plymouth officials have scrambled to help Plymouth Rock Studios create the 2,000 studio-related jobs the company predicts, while people mobbed job fairs to chase their dream of making it in show business.
But a look behind the breathtaking vision of Plymouth Rock Studios reveals a project marred by over-the-top claims, broken promises, legal infighting, and the chronic lack of one crucial ingredient: money.
A Globe Spotlight Team investigation has found that, despite their cultivated image of Hollywood know-how and deep pockets, Kirkpatrick and his oft-changing cast of partners never obtained nearly the resources to build one of the world’s biggest studios. Members of Kirkpatrick’s group have been sued at least 11 times in the past three years by writers, investors, consultants, and others who say they weren’t fully paid. Kirkpatrick and his various collaborators were so desperate for funds that they turned to dubious sources for help, including a convicted embezzler and an obscure Florida financier whose former business partners were recently sentenced to prison.