Amazon Fires Famous Producer From Mark Wahlberg And Jake Gyllenhaal Movies Over Alleged Verbal Abuse To Women
Amazon has reportedly severed ties with veteran Hollywood producer Joel Silver, known for his iconic contributions to ’80s and ’90s cinema. The decision comes amid allegations of verbal abuse towards two female executives. Silver, who was in the midst of a comeback with Amazon, now finds his projects involving Mark Wahlberg and Jake Gyllenhaal in jeopardy.
According to Variety, the alleged incidents involve heated confrontations with Amazon Studios and MGM marketing head Sue Kroll, as well as Amazon film head Courtenay Valenti. Both executives share a lengthy professional history with Joel Silver, dating back to their roles as top executives at Warner Bros., a period during which Silver held significant influence at the studio.
He is also accused of berating other staffers. However, Joel Silver’s camp vehemently denies these claims, asserting that the producer’s dismissal is a result of his resistance to Amazon’s proposal to use artificial intelligence to complete a film during the recent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes – a claim that Amazon vehemently denies.
One casualty of this controversy is the Jake Gyllenhaal-led remake of the 1989 action film Road House, produced by Joel Silver. Despite the film being near completion when the strike began, Silver has been relieved of his producing duties. The movie, directed by Doug Liman, is set for release in early 2024 under Amazon‘s MGM label as a streaming title, contrary to Silver’s preference for a theatrical release.
Additionally, the much-anticipated film Play Dirty, intended to reunite Joel Silver with frequent collaborators Robert Downey Jr. and director Shane Black, has also seen a significant shakeup. Downey Jr. quietly exited the project, being replaced by Mark Wahlberg, leaving the reasons for the actor’s departure unclear.
A legal representative for Silver, Bryan Freedman, described reports of his client’s firing as defamatory. “As Amazon readily admits, Joel Silver completed all of his services on Road House and was not relieved of his duties, terminated or fired from his services,” Freedman said in a statement. “He finished the film and did an excellent job.”
“With respect to Play Dirty, as agreed to by Amazon, Joel [Silver] was in no way terminated with or for cause on that picture. None of this is in dispute. To say he was fired is irresponsible and defamatory,” Freedman continued. Until the verbal abuse allegations surfaced, Silver was set to produce several projects at Amazon based on Donald E. Westlake’s Parker noir crime novels.
Joel Silver has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry throughout his career and is known for shaping the action genre. He produced the iconic Die Hard in 1988, starring Bruce Willis, a film that not only became a blockbuster but also redefined the standards for action movies. Silver’s influence also extends to the successful Lethal Weapon films featuring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.
Another milestone in Joel Silver’s career is The Matrix trilogy, directed by the Wachowskis, which showcased innovative storytelling and visual effects. While celebrated for his contributions to the action genre, Silver has also worked on comedic projects like 2016’s The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.
While Joel Silver is undeniably one of the most successful producers of his generation, with a vast portfolio, his departure from the Mark Wahlberg and Jake Gyllenhaal movies highlights the shifting landscape in Hollywood. The industry has become increasingly intolerant of behaviors once accepted as the norm, with high-profile figures facing consequences for allegations ranging from abuse to bullying.