Sony Pictures Entertainment executives dealing with fallout from the company's historic security breach at least have the studio's 2015 films to look forward to—well, except for Cameron Crowe's still-untitled new movie starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone.
Emails between SPE principals reveal that they're excited about the prospects of a few tentpoles, including Annie and the upcoming sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop. But there is one they already seem ready to wash their hands of: a new movie by Cameron Crowe starring Cooper, Stone, Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray.
Once called Deep Tiki, and now back to being referred to as "Untitled Cameron Crowe" (because what could beat We Bought a Zoo?), the "action romance" about a military weapons consultant in Hawaii has been bandied about by Sony studio Columbia Pictures since at least 2008, when Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon were cast in what was supposed to be Crowe's follow-up to the disastrous Elizabethtown.
Stiller and Witherspoon both eventually left over scheduling problems, and Crowe reportedly spent the next four years tinkering with the script. And it's now finally been filmed—six years after it was first cast—and Sony has been testing it at audience screenings on both coasts. It doesn't sound good.
On Nov. 13, the film was shown in Huntington Beach, California and New York, and the reports from those shows sparked the following words from SPE co-chairman Amy Pascal:
"It's a wrap," Pascal writes. "There is no more to do." She goes on to trash the movie's characters—"People don't like people in movies who flirt with married people or married people who flirt—specific plot points ("The satellite makes no sense/The gate makes no sense"), and the script: "I'm never starting a movie again when the script is ridiculous/And we al [sic] know it."
Worst of all, Pascal reveals, "We have this movie in for a lot of dough and we better look at that"—not a good thing to hear for a studio that last year committed to $100 million in cost cuts and whose parent company is struggling with losses.
The problem lies not just with Crowe, who Pascal writes "didn't change anything," but with "Scott"—presumably Scott Rudin, a producer on the film—who "didn't once go into the set/Or help us in the editing room/Or fix the script." Rudin, close followers of the leak will remember, is the producer who battled Pascal intently over Sony's other big disaster—the Steve Jobs movie.
"At least the marketing departments at both studios have something to sell," she writes.
And who are they going to sell it to? According to a written report summarizing both screenings obtained by Gawker, Sony believes that the movie appeals more to, well, people who are dumb.
All of this might explain why Crowe received no response to the following email, in which he expresses his desire to direct Sony's Steve Jobs movie.
Just in case it wasn't clear, Crowe followed up a mere two minutes later: