Sony asks media outlets to destroy hacked documents


No SPECTRE spoilers

Attorneys for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which includes Sony Pictures, has aksed media outlets to stop stories based on hacked Sony documents, according to stories in THE WRAP, VARIETY and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The Hollywood Reporter posted a copy of the letter, which you can view BY CLICKING HERE.

“SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen Information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the Stolen Information,” the letter to The Hollywood Reporter reads.

A script for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, was among the documents that hackers obtained and put out on the Internet. Hackers also sent out copies of memos from Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer related to the script as well as memos about the movie’s budget. Sony will release SPECTRE in November 2015.

If documents aren’t destroyed, according to the letter, “SPE will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use from such use or dissemination by you.”

UPDATE: THE NEW YORK TIMES reported it also received one of the letters. The newspaper, citing “two people briefed on the matter,” also reported that Sony and the Motion PIcture Association of America, are attempting to organize a letter of support from other studio heads but such a letter hasn’t been drafted.

Variety, CNN examine journalistic issues with Sony hack

No SPECTRE spoilers in this post.

Variety and CNN have examined the issues facing journalists covering the unfolding implications of the computer hacking at Sony Pictures.

Various Sony documents have been made public by hackers, including personal information of Sony employees, emails by executives and unreleased movies. The hacked materials include a draft script of SPECTRE, the James Bond film currently in production.

“It’s getting harder for me to report on the contents of Sony’s leak without wondering whether I’m somehow complicit with these nefarious hackers by relaying the details of seemingly every pilfered terabyte,” Andrew Wallenstein, Variety’s co-editor-in-chief, wrote IN A COMMENTARY published Dec. 11.

Wallenstein’s commentary discusses the journalistic desire for scoops and newsworthiness of the information versus the circumstances of the Sony hack. He says he has “arrived at an uneasy peace with why the leaks can’t just be ignored.”

“Unfortunately, the data is in the public domain for all to consume,” the Variety editor wrote. “Should information from a leak force someone like (movie producer Scott) Rudin to make a public apology, how do you report on the apology without citing what he is apologizing for?”

Rudin was involved in an exchange of emails with Sony executive Amy Pascal where they joked about the race of U.S. President Barack Obama.

At the same time, Wallenstein wrote, “Let’s get real: The hackers are playing the press as pawns.” To read the entire commentary, CLICK HERE. The leaks involving SPECTRE aren’t mentioned.

On Dec. 14, CNN’s Reliable Sources media-review show included a segment about the Sony hacks. Host Brian Stelter disclosed e-mails he sent to Sony executives while working on stories had been part of data dumps by the hackers.

“None of my communications were embarrassing but it does not feel good to know now the world can see who my sources were,” the host said.

“This is stolen material,” Stelter added. “So should journalists like I and many others feel free to republish something that was taken illegally?” That led into a segment with Variety’s Wallenstein and Don Lemon, a CNN anchor.

To view the Reliable Sources segment, CLICK HERE., It doesn’t mention SPECTRE specifically, either. The CNN/Money website last week published a post about SPECTRE’s budget based on e-mails that were part of the Sony hacking.

UPDATE: Writer Aaron Sorkin wrote a commentary in THE NEW YORK TIMES arguing the press shouldn’t be reporting anything from the hacked Sony information.

Majesty’s 45th: ‘This never happened to the other fella’


OHMSS poster

OHMSS poster

When Sean Connery was cast as James Bond in Dr. No, there was interest. Ian Fleming’s 007 novels were popular. President John F. Kennedy was among their fans. Still, it wasn’t anything to obsess over.

Six years later, things had changed. Bond was a worldwide phenomenon. 007 was a big business that even producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hadn’t anticipated originally. Now, the role was being re-cast after Sean Connery departed the role.

As a result, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which debuted 45 years ago this month, was under intense scrutiny. The film required a long, exhausting shooting schedule. This time, Bond would be played by a novice actor, George Lazenby, and supervised by a first time director, Peter Hunt.

Hunt, at least, was no novice with the world of 007. He had been editor or supervising editor of the previous five Broccoli-Saltzman 007 films and second unit director of You Only Live Twice. So he was more than familiar with how the Bond production machine worked. Also, he had support of other 007 veterans, including production designer Syd Cain, set decorator Peter Lamont, screenwriter Richard Maibaum and composer John Barry.

Lazenby, on the other hand, had to take a crash course. He was paired with much more experienced co-stars, including Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas. And he was constantly being compared with Connery.

When, at the end of the pre-titles sequence, Lazenby says, “This never happened to the other fella,” the statement was true on multiple levels.

Majesty’s was also the first time Eon Productions re-calibrated. You Only Live Twice had dispensed with the main plot of Fleming’s novel and emphasized spectacle instead. Majesty’s ended up being arguably the most faithful adaptation of a Fleming 007 novel. It was still big, but it had no spaceships or volcano hideouts.

Majesty’s global box office totaled $82 million, according to THE NUMBERS WEBSITE. That was a slide from You Only Live Twice’s $111.6 million. Twice’s box offce, in turn, had declined compared with Thunderball.

For Lazenby, once was enough. He subsequently has said he erred by not making a second Bond. “This never happened to the other fella,” indeed.

Today, Majesty’s has a good reputation among 007 fans. In 1969 and 1970, the brain trust at Eon Productions and United Artists concluded some re-thinking was needed. Things were about to change yet again.