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Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Weinstein Tapes


Last year, a mate of mine loaned me a book to read titled "Down And Dirty Pictures" by Peter Biskind - a book which charted the comeback of the independent cinema scene in America in the 1990's. It was fascinating, with retrospective interviews with many many players at a time when the indie cinema somehow became mainstream. It tended to focus heavily on two aspects - Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival, and the rise to power of Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Harvey did not come off clean. He went ballistic when he read about it. He had refused all interviews for the book previously, as had Robert Redford.

While it was an amazingly entertaining yet scornful picture of the big man as told by filmmakers, executives and former employees alike, I couldn't help but think "surely this is being embellished a bit here? These are peoples' interpretations of what was said and done? And well after the fact. YEARS afterwards. Could the passage of time surely have muddied them up a bit?" I'd been assured it hadn't - and trust me, I believe Harvey Weinstein is just the angry angry man many a people claim he can be.

Well, the New York Post today reported that an ex-employee who never signed a non-disclosure agreement has sourced fifteen years worth of phone recordings and files of Harvey and other Hollywood players. To prove the source wasn't bluffing, he or she had sent the Post a seven minute phone conversation of Harvey riling then Disney president and now executive at Revolution, Joe Roth.

It's all part of a new book to be written about Weinstein and the Disney years - all of the files were originally collected by one of Bob Weinstein's paranoid assistants prior to his death in the World Trade Center.

I want to hear these tapes. I hope these tapes and files are released concurrently with the books. It's not that I doubt Harvey Weinstein can be an arsehole (or asshole) - it's just I want my criticism of Down And Dirty Pictures to be ... I don't know, resolved? Cleared up?

I AM a bit skeptical since the Post (not THE most regarded publication in itself) filed this in the Page Six entertainment/gossip section, and was picked up by WENN which has a bit of a gossip reputation itself (feeding the IMDB - where I found this story). It could be bullshit gossip.

But if the book gets written and published, and some of these tapes get made available (come on Drudge Report and Smoking Gun, where are you on this one??), I will be interested.

And bet your arse Harvey will come after them with lawyers.


Down And Dirty Pictures was a follow up to Easy Riders, Raging Bulls - a similarly very well received account of the New Hollywood era of the 1960's-1970's. Both books have had documentaries made (or in the making about them - here and here)

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