A damning, detailed exposé in the Los Angeles Times has revealed the pattern of unethical and improper behavior by longtime Hollywood producer Randall Emmett. The piece features dozens of interviews with collaborators, employees, and associates of Emmett, and highlights his history of shady financial practices and alleges that he paid for the silence of people who he had mistreated with non-disclosure agreements.
Emmett, 51, is known for producing a myriad of films, including some that won critical praise (Martin Scorsese’s Silence and The Irishman, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), as well as many direct-to-video action movies featuring bankable American stars like Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and Robert De Niro. He reached a new level of notoriety in Hollywood after co-producing Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor in 2013, which proved to be a critical and commercial success.
The L.A. Times feature also includes allegations that Emmett mistreated women, including tackling his former fiancee Lala Kent after she took his phone from him and that he exchanged sexual favors for acting work on at least one occasion (Emmett spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister denies the allegations). Emmett also apparently tried to have Kent sign an NDA shortly after they began dating, but the Vanderpump Rules star said she refused.
Several former employees of Emmett’s are interviewed on the record for the piece, with one alleging she showed up to the producer’s house for an errand to find him sitting there nude, and another saying that he had transported drugs on his boss’ behalf. Emmett’s staff were also asked to pay for things with their own personal money, though “a person close to Emmett” told the Times that both personal and corporate expenses had been reimbursed.
“Randall was different from being just a mean boss. He made people do dangerous things — and illegal things,” former assistant Martin G’blae told the Times. “You had to be his punching bag–and his mule.”
In addition, the story details how his Emmett/Furla Oasis production company made much of its money, which hinged on paying aging A-listers exorbitant fees for relatively minimal work in order to use their appearance in a movie to sell it in foreign markets. Many of these films featured Bruce Willis, who recently retired from acting following a diagnosis of aphasia, which can make speech and language comprehension difficult. According to another L.A. Times article by the same writers as the Emmett piece, Willis’ cognitive decline was a known issue within certain circles of the film industry, and one of the incidents cited in that story took place on an Emmett set.
A graphic in the story sheds some light on the contracts that these major stars signed. Willis earned $1.5 million for just four days of work on Hard Kill, and the contract stipulated that someone would be paid more than $4,000 a week to feed the actor his lines through an earpiece. Robert De Niro was paid $11 million for a role in the film Savage Salvation where his total time in production would be just eight days and his family would have an all-expenses paid vacation at a Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico .Al Pacino nabbed $6 million for 19 days of work in American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally, as well as “round-trip private jet travel.”
The story also includes a humorous quote from an email Pacino sent to Emmett while shooting Axis Sally. That movie starred Meadow Williams in the titular role after she invested $9 million to get it made. Pacino thought that Williams’ notes in post-production were hurting the project, and recommended that they add an extra day of shooting.
“Let’s do this Randall. I’m not going for the A’s or the B’s. I’m going for something between C and B,” Pacino wrote. “I don’t like Ds. And, as long as you put the effort in with what you know about filmmaking and Michael too I’m sure we’ll get to a B-. And that’s good enough for me, if it’s good enough for you.”
Per the Times, Emmett and Emmett/Furla Oasis are facing “nearly a dozen lawsuits” from various parties totaling “more than $25 million in outstanding and disputed payments.”