Catching up with Ari Gold, er, Emanuel

Posted by · 9:10 am · July 15th, 2009

Ari EmanuelIt’s exciting times in my house these days, what with “Entourage” hitting the small screen for season number six Sunday night.  The series makes for my weekly dose of Hollywood escapism, paradoxically right here at ground zero.  The obsession is, of course, owed in no small part to Jeremy Piven’s Emmy-winning portrayal of super agent Ari Gold, a composite sketch of real life player Ari Emanuel.

Emanuel has been getting plenty of media attention lately (well, more than his usual helathy dose of press limelight).  The merger of his Endeavor agency with William Morris a few months ago (forming mega-conglomerate WME) led to a front-page New York Times profile last month, chocked full of the usual array of anonymous sources and, it should figure, no comment from Emanuel.  And now in the pages of London’s Independent newspaper (a number of weeks behind the curve) comes a new look at the Hollywood maestro.

The piece, from regular Independent contributor Guy Adams, is frustratingly bogged down by similar anonymous sources that paint the canvas with the expected tint of agenda and speculation.  There are even journalists quoted, which, personally speaking, is a bit tacky.  Do a little digging, Mr. Adams.  But while all the months-old discussion of the WME particulars are still somewhat interesting, it’s the bits dedicated to Ari GOLD that are more captivating:

That character’s behaviour and manner are best described as a caricature rather than a carbon copy of the real Ari, who in his younger days was often described as volatile but is said to have mellowed substantially in recent years.

But it may have at least some factual basis. In 2002, an Endeavour employee called Sandra Epstein filed a sexual harassment lawsuit claiming that daily life at the company saw rampant pot-smoking, bullying, sexual frolics on desks, and one agent demanding that his assistants book prostitutes for him.

The lawsuit claimed that Emanuel once blocked her from sending a script about the Navy Seals to the actor Wesley Snipes, saying “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard… Everyone knows that blacks don’t swim.” Though the case was settled on undisclosed terms, Emanuel has denied any allegations of racism. Indeed, as a prominent member of the Jewish community – who said Hollywood should “shun” and “refuse to work with” the anti-Semitic Mel Gibson – he boasts a track record of opposing stereotyping.

Of course Emanuel’s shenanigans aren’t the only intriguing thing about the man.  He is, after all, one of a trio of brothers successful in an array of professions.  Rahm Emanuel, of course, is Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, while Ezekial is a bioethicist and oncologist.  Charlie Rose (who is part of Ari Emanuel’s diverse stable of represented talent) interviewed the brothers in a captivating edition of his television show last year.  In part:

The new season of “Entourage” airs on HBO Sundays at 10:00pm.  WME, meanwhile, is angling for a takeover of the universe.

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2 responses so far

  • 1 7-15-2009 at 11:53 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    are we gonna get a review of harry potter kris. I see it having an oscar worthy performance in Jim Broadbent, great cinematography, art direction, special effects, and sound, what do you think? and did anyone catch a new where the wild things are trailer cause my screening on ly had the same one

  • 2 7-15-2009 at 11:58 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Nothing from me. When Warner Bros. stops booking me at all-media screenings for their tentpoles, where simply observing the film is a bit of a chore with the surrounding riff-raff (not to sound too precious), maybe then I’ll actually see this stuff in a timely manner. Haven’t seen it yet.