Scott Rudin (born July 14, 1958) is an American film, television, and theater producer.
His films include the Academy Award-winning Best Picture No Country for Old Men, as well as Lady Bird, Fences, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, School of Rock, Zoolander, The Truman Show, Clueless, The Addams Family, and eight Wes Anderson films. On Broadway, he has won seventeen Tony Awards for shows such as The Book of Mormon, Hello, Dolly!, The Humans, A View from the Bridge, Fences, and Passion.
In April 2021, a story in The Hollywood Reporter alleged numerous instances of abuse from Rudin towards employees, including throwing objects at employees, breaking a computer monitor on an employee's hand, and causing emotional abuse that is believed to have contributed to the suicide of a former assistant. Following the Hollywood Reporter allegations, Rudin announced that he would be "stepping back" from his Broadway, film, and streaming projects to "work on personal issues I should have long ago." On April 20, Variety reported that Rudin's name would be removed from a number of upcoming films, and that "Rudin's business relationship with A24, the indie studio where he produced such acclaimed films as Lady Bird and Uncut Gems, was over."
At the age of 16, he started working as an assistant to theatre producer Kermit Bloomgarden. Later, he worked for producers Robert Whitehead and Emanuel Azenberg. In lieu of attending college, Rudin took a job as a casting director and ended up starting his own company. His newly minted firm cast numerous Broadway shows, including Annie (1977) for Mike Nichols. He also cast PBS's Verna: USO Girl (1978), starring Sissy Spacek and William Hurt; and the mini-series The Scarlet Letter (1979) starring Meg Foster, Kevin Conway and John Heard; also, the films King of the Gypsies (1978), The Wanderers (1979), Simon (1980) with Alan Arkin and Resurrection (1980).
In 1980, Rudin moved to Los Angeles, taking up employment at Edgar J. Scherick Associates, where he served as producer on a variety of films including I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can (1981), the NBC miniseries Little Gloria... Happy at Last (1982) and the Oscar-winning documentary He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983).
Rudin then formed his own company, Scott Rudin Productions. His first film under that banner was Gillian Armstrong's Mrs. Soffel (1984). Not long after, Rudin placed his production shingle in dormancy and joined 20th Century-Fox as an executive producer. At Fox, he met Jonathan Dolgen, a higher-level executive, with whom he would be working once again at Paramount Pictures years later. Rudin rose through the ranks at Fox and became president of production in 1986 at 28 years old.
His stint at the top of Fox was short lived, and he soon left and entered into a producing deal with Paramount. On August 1, 1992, Rudin signed a deal with TriStar Pictures but soon moved back to Paramount. Rudin's first-look deal with Paramount Pictures lasted nearly 15 years, producing pictures including The First Wives Club, The Addams Family, Clueless, Sabrina, and Sleepy Hollow.
After the resignation of Paramount's chairwoman Sherry Lansing in 2004 and nearly simultaneous departure of Jonathan Dolgen (then president of the company), Rudin left the studio and set a five-year first-look pact with Disney that allowed him to make movies under their labels Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and Miramax Films, whose founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein had departed. Previously, Harvey Weinstein and Rudin had public confrontations during the production of The Hours (2002), which Rudin produced for Miramax Films after it became a studio subsidiary under Disney. Rudin later said he and Weinstein "are both control freaks. We both want to run our own shows. When I'm doing a Miramax movie, I work for him. And I don't like that feeling. I chafe under that. I especially chafe under it when I feel that I'm on a leash." His projects in the 2010s have included lower-budget, independent films. In 2017 and 2018, Rudin and studio A24 released three films about adolescence by first-time writer/directors: Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird, Bo Burnham's Eighth Grade, and Jonah Hill's Mid90s. In 2015, he signed a television production deal with Fox.
His first Broadway play, David Henry Hwang's Face Value in 1993, was produced alongside Stuart Ostrow and Jujamcyn Theaters, and it closed after eight preview performances. He started a deal with Jujamcyn to develop and produce new plays for the theater chain. In 1994, Rudin won the Best Musical Tony Award for his production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion. The following year, he co-produced Kathleen Turner's Broadway comeback, Indiscretions, and Ralph Fiennes' New York stage debut in Hamlet. In 1996, Rudin produced the revival of the Stephen Sondheim and Larry Gelbart musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which Nathan Lane won his first Tony Award. His subsequent productions and co-productions have included Skylight, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?, Seven Guitars, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Copenhagen, Deuce, The History Boys, Beckett/Albee, Closer, The Blue Room, Doubt, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Year of Magical Thinking, A Behanding in Spokane, God of Carnage, The House of Blue Leaves, and Exit the King.
In 2010, Rudin and Carole Shorenstein Hays produced the first Broadway revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences, directed by Kenny Leon and starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Fences garnered ten Tony Award nominations and three wins, including Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor for Washington, and Best Actress for Davis. He would later produce the 2016 film adaptation of Fences.
The following year, Rudin was a producer for the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, which opened in March 2011 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The show won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. The production has played more than 3,740 Broadway performances as of March 15, 2020. The show has also played in London, Australia, Europe, Asia, and on tour across the United States.
Since 2011, Rudin has won Tony Awards for producing Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (directed by Mike Nichols and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield), Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (starring Denzel Washington), David Hare's Skylight (directed by Stephen Daldry and starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy), Stephen Karam's The Humans, Ivo van Hove's staging of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, and the record-breaking revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler. Other notable productions include Larry David's Fish in the Dark, a hit comedy with over $13.5 million in advance sales at the box office, a record at the time.
To Kill a Mockingbird legal disputes
Rudin produced the first Broadway production of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, newly adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Bartlett Sher, and starring Jeff Daniels. The production opened to critical acclaim at the Shubert Theatre on December 13, 2018. During the week ending on December 23, 2018, the production grossed over $1.5 million, breaking the record for box office grosses for a non-musical play in a theater owned by The Shubert Organization.
In March 2018, prior to the play's opening, the Harper Lee estate filed a lawsuit against the play's production company based on allegations that the play deviates too much from the novel. Sorkin had previously admitted that, "As far as Atticus and his virtue goes, this is a different take on Mockingbird than Harper Lee's or Horton Foote's. He becomes Atticus Finch by the end of the play, and while he’s going along, he has a kind of running argument with Calpurnia, the housekeeper, which is a much bigger role in the play I just wrote. He is in denial about his neighbors and his friends and the world around him, that it is as racist as it is, that a Maycomb County jury could possibly put Tom Robinson in jail when it’s so obvious what happened here. He becomes an apologist for these people." The following month, producer Rudin countersued for breach of contract. The legal dispute was settled by May 2018.
Prior to the run of Sorkin's adaptation, another version of the play by Christopher Sergel had been available for license for over 50 years. Since the opening of Sorkin's adaptation, lawyers acting for Atticus Limited Liability Company (the company formed by Rudin for the Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird) claimed worldwide exclusivity for professional stage rights to any adaptation of Lee's book. The company has moved aggressively to shut down all other productions of To Kill a Mockingbird staged within 25 miles of any city ALLC determines to be a major metropolitan center that might eventually host the Sorkin adaptation – even though the companies had been legally granted rights by Dramatic Publishing Co. to produce the Sergel adaptation. One of the amateur companies, The Grand Theatre, estimated that the cancellation of Mockingbird would cost the theatre some $20,000. In the week that the New York Times story ran, it was revealed that Rudin had recently purchased a $15 million New York City home from former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.
Rudin has drawn attention for his choice to withdraw from at least two major Broadway productions. He left the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park in February 2012 ahead of an April opening, due to a feud with writer Bruce Norris that was unrelated to the play. At the time, the New York Post's Michael Riedel said, "And like Merrick, he does not suffer fools, especially ones who go back on their word." Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth ultimately produced Clybourne Park, and it won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play. In 2015, it was announced that Rudin would produce Groundhog Day, a musical adaptation of the film Groundhog Day, originally starring Bill Murray. Tim Minchin, who penned the award-winning adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, wrote the music and lyrics, and screenwriter Danny Rubin wrote the book. Rudin withdrew from the production in June 2016, citing creative differences with the production team. Groundhog Day opened on Broadway in 2017 and was a financial failure, closing after just five months.
In 2013, after New York Times theatre reporter Patrick Healy published an interview with Colm Toibin, the author of Rudin's financially unsuccessful The Testament of Mary, Rudin ran an advertisement in the Times, saying: "Let's give a big cuddly shout-out to Pat Healy, infant provocateur and amateur journalist at The New York Times. Keep it up, Pat -- one day perhaps you'll learn something about how Broadway works, and maybe even understand it."
In 2016, in a throwback to an earlier practice on Broadway, Rudin demanded that all critics attend the opening night performance of his production of The Front Page, which starred Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, Holland Taylor, and Robert Morse. (Typically, critics are invited to several performances prior to opening night, giving them ample time to file reviews.) In a public dispute, The Hollywood Reporter critic David Rooney, who had a conflict on the date of the opening, balked at the change, adding, "You know nobody works at that pace anymore, right?" Rudin shot back, "Critics reviewed shows on Broadway this way for 100 years. You can do it for one night. Get over it." Rooney's rave review eventually ran two days later than other New York critics, on October 23.
Sony Pictures email leak
On December 9, 2014, a major illegal breach of Sony's computer systems by "Guardians of Peace" hackers using Shamoon malware led to disclosure of many gigabytes of stolen information, including internal company documents. In subsequent news coverage SPE Co-Chair Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin were noted to have had an email exchange about Pascal's upcoming encounter with President Barack Obama that included characterizations described as racist. Both he and Pascal later apologized.
The two had suggested they should mention films about African-Americans upon meeting the president, such as Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave, The Butler, and Amistad which all discuss slavery in the United States or the pre-civil rights era. In the email thread, Rudin added, "I bet he likes Kevin Hart." Rudin later said that the e-mails were "private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity." He added that he was "profoundly and deeply sorry".
Allegations of abusive behavior
Rudin is widely considered to be one of the most abusive bosses in the entertainment industry.
He has been called "Hollywood's biggest a-hole" (the New York Post's "Page Six"), "the most feared man in town" (The Hollywood Reporter), and notoriously hot-tempered. Rudin acknowledged having "a temper" in a 2008 interview, but said he has "grown up".
On April 7, 2021, Rudin was accused, by numerous employees speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, of demonstrating a long-standing pattern of abusive behavior towards his employees, including physical abuse, such as throwing objects at his assistants, and in one instance smashing an assistant's hand with a computer monitor. In that article, he was also accused of having victims sign non-disparagement agreements and having the victims' film credits increased or retroactively decreased after quitting.
On April 14, 2021, Karen Olivo announced she would not return to Moulin Rouge! once it reopens in protest of the industry's silence on the allegations against Rudin. In an Instagram video, Olivo stated, "I want a theatre industry that matches my integrity." As a result of the allegations, Sutton Foster, who was slated to star alongside Hugh Jackman in Rudin's upcoming Broadway production of The Music Man, reportedly vowed to leave the show if Rudin did not "take a seat". On April 17, 2021, the Actors' Equity Association called on Rudin to release employees from any ongoing nondisclosure agreements and for actions from employers, in order to create "truly safe and harassment-free theatrical workplaces on Broadway and beyond." Members of the union have pushed for Rudin to be added to a Do Not Work list.
On April 17, Rudin released a statement apologizing for "the pain my behavior caused to individuals, directly and indirectly" and said he would "step back" from active work on his Broadway productions. On April 20, he announced he would do the same for his "film and streaming" projects.
Among his numerous accolades as a film and theatrical producer, Rudin has won seventeen Tony Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, four Golden Globes and sixteen Drama Desk Awards. Additionally, he has been nominated for ten BAFTA Awards. With his Grammy win for The Book of Mormon in 2012, he became one of the few people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award, and the first producer to do so.
In 2008, two of Rudin's productions—the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, which were adapted from the Cormac McCarthy book of the same name, and Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, which was adapted from the Upton Sinclair novel, Oil!—were nominated for eight Oscars apiece at the 2008 Academy Awards, including a Best Picture nod for each. The two films shared the distinction of being the most nominated movies at that year's Oscar ceremony. Ultimately, No Country for Old Men won the Best Picture prize, with Rudin accepting the award on stage.
Rudin earned Primetime Emmy award nominations for Little Gloria... Happy at Last and School of Rock, and won both Primetime and Daytime Emmys for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'. He won a Grammy award for The Book of Mormon.
At the 2011 Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards, Rudin became the only person ever to be nominated twice in one year. He was nominated (along with Dana Brunetti, Ceán Chaffin and Michael De Luca) for producing the Facebook biographical film The Social Network and was also nominated (along with Joel and Ethan Coen) for their remake of the classic western True Grit (2010). That same year, the PGA also awarded Rudin the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures which recognizes an individual's outstanding body of work in the field of motion picture production.
Rudin is married to John Barlow, who previously owned the Broadway communications firm Barlow-Hartman Public Relations. In 2019, Rudin and Barlow purchased a three-story Greek Revival-style home in New York's West Village neighborhood.
Rudin was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.
- As casting director
|1978||King of the Gypsies|
|Hide in Plain Sight|
- As an actor
|2014||While We're Young||Party Guest|
- Other acknowledgement in credits
|2009||Away We Go||Special thanks|
|2015||Louder Than Bombs||Thanks|
|2016||Certain Women||Special thanks|
- Miscellaneous crew
|1996||Passion||Stage producer||TV movie|
|2016||The Night Of||Consultant|
- As casting director
|1979||Sanctuary of Fear||TV movie|
|1980||The Lathe of Heaven|
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Scott Rudin: "...frankly, I was the only Jew on the creative team"
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