Sean Smith

Stories by Sean Smith

  • Newsmakers

    Weaving a Tangled WebIs Tobey Maguire getting too big for his unitard? The $4 million he got for "Spider-Man" looked good at the time. But when the film made $404 million, the Gersh Agency, which has repped him for years, demanded $25 million against 10 percent of the gross for the sequel. A source close to the negotiations thinks Maguire had been listening to his actor buddies, who include Leonardo DiCaprio. "You can picture all those guys sitting around telling him, 'Man, you only got x for that? Don't be such a fag'." Columbia Pictures offered $17 million with bonuses; Maguire said yes. But he'd slimmed down to jockey size to play Red Pollard in the upcoming "Seabiscuit." He'd also hurt his back and had a list of what he could and couldn't do--even how many steps he'd climb. Columbia said it would explore other casting options--like Jake Gyllenhaal, who's dating Kirsten Dunst, Maguire's "Spider-Man" costar. The back got better.So. A happy ending--except for Gersh. Maguire has...
  • Tale Of A Dark Horse

    Halle Berry stood on stage on Oscar night, preparing to read the names of the nominees for best actor. Adrien Brody, nominated for "The Pianist," prepared to lose another award to Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis. Sitting in the orchestra section, James Schamus, head of the company that released that film, turned to his copresident, David Linde, and said, "Now I know what a root canal feels like." The drilling stopped when Berry called Brody's name. "We jumped out of our chairs," says Linde. Then Ronald Harwood won for the film's screenplay ("My wife gasped," he says). In his speech, Harwood made a point of saying that his award also belonged to Roman Polanski, not knowing that the director would soon get a statue of his own. When Harrison Ford read Polanski's name, the room erupted--first in "whoas," then in a gathering storm of applause. Says Harwood, "It never occurred to me that he had a chance."It didn't occur to anyone else either. The media had narrowed the competition in...