While the cyber-attackers who struck at Sony Pictures the week of Thanksgiving may have been motivated to stop Sony’s delivery of a certain film this Christmas, the data they leaked on Monday gives insight into the collapse of Sony’s role in another film—the adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. And it also reveals who screenwriter Aaron Sorkin had in mind for the leading role in Jobs: Tom Cruise.
Based on e-mail messages in the Outlook mailbox of Columbia Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal, which made up nearly half of the latest leak of documents by the group calling themselves “the Guardians of Peace,” it was ultimately Director Danny Boyle’s choice of Michael Fassbender for the role of Steve Jobs that blew up the deal, as Pascal and her team struggled to find someone to help finance the film with him in the lead. Then, as Sony reached a deadline for coming up with a deal, producer Scott Rudin and Boyle closed a deal with Universal to take the picture, sparking an e-mail flame war.
The contentious relationship between Sony/Columbia and Rudin, with whom Sony Pictures had a standing first right of refusal deal for all his production company’s projects, played out in Pascal’s e-mail box along with her other daily message traffic—including notices about her posts to Pinterest, her Amazon purchases, and fundraising pleas from various Democratic political candidates. Her exchanges with Rudin and Sorkin also show how actors (and their agents) were petitioning for roles in the film.
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