Apple kills plan for Elvis biopic after Harvey Weinstein revelations: report

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After a series of sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Apple has pulled the plug on an Elvis Presley biopic series from the Weinstein Company. 

The Weinstein Co, founded by Harvey and his brother Bob, fired Weinstein on Oct 8, after a bombshell New York Times report detailed decades of sexual harassment accusations against him. The Elvis project was in very early stages but Apple decided to kill the project, according to Deadline. 

The Elvis biopic was “just past the dealmaking stage” and was conceived a few months ago, according to Deadline. The project predated the new video division in Apple Music, led by former Sony executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. 

Apple, considered a new but resource-heavy arrival in Hollywood, is seeking to spend US$1bil (RM4.22bil) in original content this year and was looking for a Hollywood studio to call its base to expand its video empire. Erlicht and Van Amburg reached out to Hollywood talents such as Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston to woo them in original content partnerships. 

The Elvis biopic – which was going to be a 10-parter – was just one of four projects it had been working on with the Weinstein Co, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The other three were said to be eight- to 10-episode biopics focused on Michael Jackson, Prince and Frank Sinatra. 

Despite having no writer or director attached, the Elvis project was the only one pulled. It was the furthest along, so Apple killing it was seen as a dramatic move. 

Weinstein Co COO David Glasser has now been negotiating with another network that originally bid on the project, according to Deadline. 

For Harvey Weinstein, the blows have kept coming since the New York Times piece. Celebrity civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom resigned as Weinstein’s legal advisor on Oct 8. Two days later, the New Yorker reported Weinstein allegedly raped three women. — San Jose Mercury News/Tribune News Service

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