Doctor Who to become Hollywood film, leaked Sony emails reveal – Telegraph.co.uk
Other emails claim that some of the Oscars judges did not want 12 Years a Slave, directed by Britain’s Steve McQueen, to win Best Picture – because it was not patriotic enough to America.
Danny Cohen, the BBC’s Director of Television
The details were included in a database of 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails that was uploaded to the WikiLeaks website after hackers stole them from Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company’s movie division, last November.
The database is the first time the information has been made available in one place in a searchable format.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that the documents ‘show the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation’ and should be in the public domain.
But Sony reacted with fury and a spokesman said that the company wanted to “strongly condemn” Assange’s actions.
The plans for Doctor Who were put in an email sent in January last year from Andrea Wong, president of International Production for Sony, to the company’s chief executive Michael Lynton.
A Hollywood version of Doctor Who could be extremely profitable for the BBC – but risks ruining the brand if it is done badly.
The email says: “He (Cohen) said that while there has been tremendous interest (and pressure from BBCWW) (BBC Worldwide) to do a Dr Who film, the show runners feel very clear that they don’t want to do one at this moment.
“That said, over the course of the coming months, the show running team is coming up with an 8 year timeline for the brand – laying out all that will happen with it.
“He says that a film will certainly be a part of that timeline. So the answer is that a film won’t happen in the next year to 18 months, but it is expected that it will happen after that within the 8 year horizon.’
Lynton’s response was: “Sounds like we need to meet with the show runners.”
A follow up email from Wong reads: “Spoke to Danny and he doesn’t think it makes sense right now and actually might hurt our cause.
“He said that the creative team on the show have been having the movie conversation with BBC Worldwide in recent weeks and are very hot under the collar that their position on it is not being listened to or accepted.”
The tranche of emails were stolen last year by group calling itself Guardians of Peace, though it later emerged that it was the work of North Korea in response to the release of the Sony film: ‘The Interview’, a parody about the secretive communist nation.
When North Korea threatened to carry out further attacks at screenings Sony cancelled the opening, but changed its mind after pressure from the White House.
The film eventually came out on limited release in December and on the Internet at the same time. But by then the damage to Sony’s reputation was already done.
Among the other emails was the one addressing 12 Years a Slave by veteran Hollywood PR Peggy Siegal to former Sony Pictures Entertainment chair Amy Pascal in October 2013.
Peter Capaldi took over as the Doctor from Matt Smith
Siegal wrote: “The Academy consists of approximately 6,000 white 60-year-old men who are educated, experienced filmmakers who take their voting power seriously.
“They are all fiercely patriotic and very aware of our day by day international standing politically and culturally.
“This film is made by a Brit that exposes the darkest “hidden history” of America, exposing a cruel and brutal segment of our white society. These plantation owners are as terrible is the Nazis, who are the only “acceptable” cinematic villains.
“As powerful as Brad Pitt is as a producer/spokesman, he will not over expose himself in the states.”
She added that the Academy’s experience of watching the film was ‘not pleasant’ and that some might fast forward or turn it off because of the violence.
She wrote: “Many others who have seen it tout the brilliant filmmaking but are a bit embarrassed by the story and more importantly did not “enjoy” watching it.
“My point is…. is this the story American cultural bell ringers want to send around the world as the “best story” in the best picture?”
The leaked Sony emails were published by WIkileaks
Pascal has already been fired by Sony and is due to formally leave the company next month to set up her own production company.
She has apologised over the affair and in a statement said that the emails were “insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.”
Among the revelations previously made public was that Pascal called Leonardo DiCaprio ‘despicable’ after he refused to star in a Steve Jobs biopic.
Renowned Hollywood producer Scott Rudin complained about Angelina Jolie’s “insanity and rampaging ego” and called her a ‘minimally talented spoiled brat”.
There were also racially insensitive emails between Pascal and Rudin joking that President Obama’s favorite films are black-themed movies like Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave.
The Sony statement said: ‘The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures was a malicious criminal act, and we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information on WikiLeaks.
‘The attackers used the dissemination of stolen information to try to harm Sony Pictures Entertainment and its employees, and now WikiLeaks regrettably is assisting them in that effort.
‘We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees’.