We don't always know what to believe anymore when it comes to The Reader, but after a turbulent period of fighting, making up, gossip-page ensnarement and a charity payout, no one watching the tormented relationship between Scott Rudin and Harvey Weinstein could have realistically expected it to survive another two months leading up the release of their troubled Kate Winslet drama. And right on cue, that eerie silence of the last week is ended this afternoon when Rudin reportedly stripped his name from the Oscar hopeful, citing irreconcilable differences — among other things.Patrick Goldstein has the news at his blog, though details are foggy and fairly speculative; pretty much everyone knows by now how fiercely Rudin and Weinstein loathe each other, with both Weinstein and his pocketbook suffering last week as Rudin's authentic hate mail made the tabloid rounds. But contumely is the coin of the realm with these guys. As sure as their awkward public detente of 11 days ago was bullshit, couldn't they just as easily keep their mouths shut for two months as director Stephen Daldry went about his post-production business for a Dec. 12 opening? Ha. Like The Reader isn't just any movie — it's the final co-production of the late Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, and the film for which Harvey wants star Kate Winslet to compete against herself for an Oscar next year — these aren't just any tyrants. Someone to had to win, and win now. Goldstein notes that Rudin's talent relationships (Winslet, Daldry and screenwriter David Hare in particular) couldn't withstand the now-regular strafing, adding that Daldry isn't necessarily equipped to complete the film without Rudin guarding his back from a Harvey incursion. But finish it he will, under contract, assuming Dec. 12 still stands. If so, it's a worst-case scenario for everyone involved: Daldry will rush it, Winslet won't promote it, Rudin won't discuss it and Weinstein will drop the equivalent of a late-term abortion on a skeptical critical corps that can't wait to watch him burn through the last of his nine lives. It's not the film's fault, but hey. it's always the children who pay.
- New Shock Wave Hits 'The Reader' [Big Picture]