Today in things that make me laugh, Ashton Kutcher has made a statement implying that we live in a world where he knows better than George Clooney about something, anything.
In response to George Clooney’s amazingly direct and on-point observation that hedge-funder Daniel Loeb is bullying the leadership at Sony and is a “carpetbagger” in Hollywood, Kutcher stated that both Loeb, a leading financier, and Clooney, an actor who also actually makes movies and is well-respected for it, don’t know what they’re talking about and that he, Ashton Kutcher, will enlighten us as to the true nature of insider Hollywood dealings. It’s bloated companies, you see, that spend money on relationships.
It’s not that Kutcher is wrong, per se. Some film companies are bloated. But I have no idea what he means by “spending money on relationships”, and he offers no explanation. He just tosses out some business buzzwords and calls it a day. Kutcher was interviewed on CNBC about his tech investments as part of promotion for jOBS, which, fine whatever. Kutcher has reinvented himself as some kind of venture capital tech guru. You know what he hasn’t reinvented himself as? A dude who regularly makes movies. Like, say, George Clooney, whose Smokehouse Productions is housed at Sony.
In an interview with Mike Fleming at Deadline, ostensibly to promote his upcoming Monuments Men, Clooney went off on Loeb, blasting him for interfering with Sony Pictures and trying to pressure the co-chairs, Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, as well as Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, into making radical changes because they had a couple losses this summer (After Earth and White House Down).
You can extrapolate Clooney’s statements to judge the industry as a whole—everything he said about Loeb also applies to Carl Icahn, who keeps trying to hijack a studio so his son can run it into the ground—but Clooney is really speaking to the situation at Sony, one which affects him as a producer and filmmaker directly.
Most of the problems with the studios stem from exactly the kind of banker-induced panic Clooney is talking about, and he’s right—this industry doesn’t work like other industries. Just because you’re good at shady hedge fund investing doesn’t mean you know sh*t about how to run a movie studio. Same goes for actors who luck into second-life venture capitalism careers. If Kutcher wants to talk about being a tech investor, fine. But his opinion on the state of the industry doesn’t matter. And will someone please ask him what “spending money on relationships” means?
Click here to watch the Kutcher interview.