No distance seems far enough, no HazMat suit thick enough to defend against the radioactivity let off by Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin's toxic Reader mess. This morning we're getting an idea of the clean-up cost for both parties — none more prohibitive than Harvey's, who today pledged $1 million to charity if Nikki Finke could turn up Rudin's alleged e-mail accusing him of "harrassing" ailing Reader co-producer Sydney Pollack for a 2008 release date. Even Rudin told Page Six: "That is not my e-mail. The contents of it are categorically untrue." Those gambits could have gone a lot better, as both men were soon to discover.The contents may in fact be untrue — just Rudin doing his malevolent macher business as usual. Harvey's survived worse. Alas, the e-mail itself turned out to be quite real, as Nikki proved last night in a post to Deadline Hollywood Daily. But what about Rudin's Page Six denial? Oh, that? Never mind:
Scott Rudin confirmed to me Monday night that it is his email describing Harvey Weinstein's alleged callous treatment of the late Anthony Minghella's and the deceased Sydney Pollack's families. Rudin also claimed to me that HW's people all day pestered him "to protect Harvey and deny the email and lie to Page Six" — so he told me he did "in order to keep peace for the next weeks that the two of us still have to work together on The Reader."
Yowza! Let this be a lesson to always use pencil when updating your Rudin/Weinstein Blood Feud Scorecard. To recap: After resurgently pushing The Reader into the '08 Oscar race, Harvey Weinstein lays million-dollar odds that his mortal enemy Scott Rudin could go another three or four months without publicly fucking him. (At least he didn't threaten to shoot himself this time, though he might be wishing he had.) Rudin, meanwhile, one of the most press-savvy moguls in town — with Harvey's own cutthroat Miramax publicity alums on retainer — lies to Page Six (and, by extension, Variety, the LA Times and everyone else for that matter) to protect... Harvey? Is this a joke? We know they have e-mail, but don't these people have phones? Is this the new wave of Oscar strategy: Set your film up for an impossible delivery date, alienate your lead and the press, and spend a tenth of your awards-season budget on accidental philanthropy? We knew Harvey was a trailblazer, and maybe the fumes are burning our eyes too much to see the genius here. Moreover, perhaps that's the point; one thing pretty much everyone can agree on at this point is that this is a playbook written in Braille.