Sony chiefs joke over ‘black’ Obama films

In the latest of embarrassing emails to leak online from Sony, studio co-chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin exchanged jokes about what president Barack Obama’s favourite films might be, focusing mostly on films starring and by African Americans.

Sony chiefs joke over ‘black’ Obama films

Ahead of a breakfast meeting organised by DreamWorks Animation head and Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sony Pictures co-chairwoman Amy Pascal sent an email to movie producer Scott Rudin and wondered what she should ask Obama at the event.

Pascal said: “Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” to which Rudin replied: “12 YEARS,” an reference to the movie 12 Years A Slave. Pascal, , who is a major donor for the Democratic party and president Obama, then said: “Or the butler. Or think like a man? [sic],” referring to other films featuring black men.

Rudin then speculated that Obama likes Kevin Hart, a famous black comedian.

On Tuesday, leaked emails show Pascal and Rudin trading insults, mostly over the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs that started at Sony and ultimately moved to Universal.

In the emails, Pascal said Angelina Jolie was upset that David Fincher was set to direct Jobs when she wanted him to direct her big-budget Cleopatra. Rudin called the actress a “minimally talented spoiled brat.” Rudin also took a jab at producer and Annapurna founder Megan Ellison, calling her a “28-year-old bipolar lunatic.”

Meanwhile, Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai ordered the film The Interview to be toned down after Pyongyang denounced it for depicting the assassination of North Korea’s leader, according to emails apparently stolen from Sony’s Hollywood studio.

The comedy, slated for US release on December 25, is about journalists played by Seth Rogen and James Franco who are hired by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

According to emails that span from August through October, Hirai asked Pascal to change a key shot in the film. It depicts Kim struck by a tank shell, causing his head to explode.

Pascal noted to Hirai that she had encountered resistance from the film’s creators, including Rogen, who wrote and co-directed it.

Hirai’s interest in the film shows the company’s leadership was worried about Pyongyang’s objections, even before a devastating cyber attack on Sony’s Hollywood studio network last month that crippled most of it for more than a week.

A Sony official said Hirai rarely reviews specific scenes in films.

North Korea complained to the United Nations in July, accusing the United States of sponsoring terrorism and committing an act of war by allowing production of the film.

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