Given the reigning Motion Picture Academy Best Picture is the true story of how Hollywood secretly teamed up with the CIA to free six American embassy hostages in Iran, the following revelation doesn’t seem so far fetched.
It may even do “Argo” one better. It’s all about a Hollywood heavyweight who actually was an arms dealer and Israeli intelligence operative right around the time of the hostage crisis in 1979.
That’s right. Arnon Milchan, who produced blockbusters such as “Fight Club,” “L.A. Confidential,” and “Pretty Woman,” is set to reveal for the first time details of his secret deals to get arms for Israel among other very hush-hush operations.
Milchan is scheduled to note it all on an Israeli TV show ”Uvda” on Monday, noted the Hollywood Reporter.
Among the other Tinseltown stalwarts featured in the upcoming program are Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro, and Ben Affleck (who starred in and directed “Argo” and headlined the Milchan-produced “Daredevil”).
Israeli investigative journalist Ilana Dayan spoke to Milchan for the program and told her the ways he attempted to engage Hollywood bigwigs for the benefit of Israel’s Defense Ministry, according to Haaretz.
He even got late director Sydney Pollack involved in acquiring arms and other military equipment for Israel in the 1970s, he told Dayan.
“This is the guy who took in Brad Pitt when his marriage to Jennifer Aniston fell apart following filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” Dayan told the Hollywood Reporter. “Milchan has been an entrepreneur since his early 20s, crossing from various realms of business, show business, politics and military, always bringing his unique charm and way of befriending and creating close bonds.”
In addition he discloses that he once got Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss to unknowingly take part in one of Milchan’s ops, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Milchan got senior U.S. scientist Arthur Biehl, one of the H-bomb developers, to attend a dinner party at Dreyfuss’ home under the pretense that Dreyfuss wanted scientific pointers on a musical project.
Milchan expected Biehl to cooperate because, “Anyone who lives in California is a star-f*****… They hear “star”…they come running,” he said.
De Niro is asked on the “Uvda” program if he knew about Milchan’s activities.
“I did ask him once, we spoke about something, he told me that he was an Israeli and that he of course would do these things for his country,” De Niro said.
“I remember at some point, I had asked Arnon about that, being friends I was curious, but not in an accusatory way, I just wanted to know. He gave me that answer and I accepted it.”
Milchan is unapologetic about his past.
“If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country. And suddenly, [I have to] defend myself – ‘I’m not an arms dealer, I don’t sell guns, I don’t sell rockets,’” he said. “I should have been aware of that, of what I’ll go through, and said, ‘F*** you.’ You know what, I did it for my country and I’m proud of it.”
The revelation isn’t completely without precedent, as two years ago saw the release of “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon — Arnon Milchan,” a book by Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman.
Milchan also is making headlines on the red carpet once again; his company, New Regency films, has been in the news over the mega-project “Noah,” a Darren Aronofsky-directed vision of the biblical flood story starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins.
Here’s a clip about the upcoming “Uvda” program on Milchan from the Hollywood Reporter:
(H/T: Daily Mail)