The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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New shock wave hits "The Reader"

October 9, 2008 |  4:28 pm

RudinScott Rudin is walking away from "The Reader." The Oscar winning producer, who has been embroiled for weeks in a nasty squabble with Harvey Weinstein over the release date of the film, has decided to quit the project and take his name off the film. The two men have had a very contentious public feud over Weinstein's insistence that the film be released this year for Oscar consideration. Rudin and the film's director, Stephen Daldry, had insisted they needed more time to finish the picture. After intense negotiations, they eventually agreed late last month that, in return for Weinstein putting up more money for round-the-clock editing, scoring sessions and optical work, Daldry would finish the film in time for a Dec. 12th release.

In recent days, negotiations had apparently taken a turn for the worse. Upset with Weinstein and worried that many of his long-standing talent relationships would be harmed, Rudin decided to separate himself from the project. Daldry remains contractually obligated to complete the film, though it's uncertain of how he will complete the film without Rudin, a longtime collaborator with both Daldry and David Hare, who were the creative team on "The Hours." There have been constant rumors that the Weinstein Co., whose hits have been few and far between, has financial problems which may have contributed to Rudin's departure. It's also possible that the two men simply can't put their personal differences aside long enough to get the movie into theaters. Whatever the root cause, this is another body blow to "The Reader," which loses a strong producer who is always a major force during awards season. Rudin will continue as producer of two other year-end pictures, "Revolutionary Road" and "Doubt."

Photo of Scott Rudin by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.