Gary Oldman and "The Contender" director Rod Lurie


Gary Oldman's participation as Executive Producer and featured star in the upcoming release "The Contender" is being intentionally diminished by director Rod Lurie. In recent weeks Lurie has ignored contract agreements established between himself, Oldman and Dreamworks. Lurie has ordered Oldman's name removed from above-title positions in current trailers for the film and has ignored Oldman's major contributions to the film in recent interviews.

While I do not mean to infer any disrespect to the other stars of the film, including the incredibly talented and underappreciated Joan Allen, as a fan of Oldman I refuse to accept any disrespect for his contributions to the film.

A source close to Oldman has announced to fans that now is the time to show support. A letter-writing campaign has been launched and the participation of all Oldman fans would be appreciated. E-mail letters are being accepted by [email protected] It is not known at this time if a specific address is available for hard copy letters to be sent to. You may also E-mail me at [email protected] with any questions or with your letters, which I will forward on. All E-mails will soon be forwarded to Dreamworks, the organization that is distributing and promoting The Contender.

Director Rod Lurie and Dreamworks have no idea how many Oldman fans are present in the general public. It is time to announce our presence and ensure that proper credit is given to such a talented and hard-working star for his efforts.

Thank you for your time,
[email protected]

But will you write a short note to dreamworks and lurie?
thanks for responding

I may...don't take this personally, but obviously I'd like to do some poking around first to hear both sides of the story. Can't believe something just because someone says it. If I do come to the same conclusion as you, then I will likely contact DreamWorks.

Thanks for choosing MovieForums!

no problem I sent you a little email about this...

I heard about this a few months back, but I heard it differently. From what I saw on TV, Showbiz Today on CNN I think, Oldman, Lurie, and Dreamworks had a contract that stated that the production company would only promote Gary has an Oscar contender, as long as other studio projects were not in the Oscar race, i.e. The Gladiator. The show explained that it was most likely an oral agreement since things like this are not usually done in contracts and that Dreamworks has the final say. The show also mentioned that the studio is hestitant about promoting the film for Best Actor since the script was written for Joan Allen and will most likely be pushed as a Best Actress film. Oldman did finance the movie, but only because Spielberg and company were one of many studios that did not want the picture. So in order for the movie to be produced, Oldman paid for a lot of it and in the process recieved the Executive Producer title...basically a glorified underwriter. Then at a different time I heard that Oldman tried to have the film edited to where Joan Allen's part was virtually cut in half, so that he would force the hand of the studio to make them promote the movie as a Best Actor film. Dreamworks conceeded slightly and had the quote, "Oldman gives an Oscar caliber performance." attached to the trailers. Oldman didn't think this was enough and decided that he would not promote the film at all on TV, interviews, or at any film festivals. Dreamworks and Lurie have not tried to convince him otherwise since the film was intended as a vehicle for Joan Allen.

I don't really have a position either way other than to say if it was an oral agreement Dreamworks would be no different than any other studio to break it and if it was a contractual agreement, they did promote Oldman when they added the Oscar blirb to the trailer. I also think Oldman has shot his Oscar hopes goodbye by declining any comment on the situation and not attending any promotional outings for the movie.

Is Rod Lurie related to Jeff Lurie?

I like Gary Oldman and all, but I don't particularly care whether he gets an executive producer credit or not. I don't think I could tell you who the executive producer was for any film off the top of my head.

Anything else here sounds like it might just be actual "creative differences" between Oldman and Lurie. I don't necessarily think that either one of them is "right" or "wrong". It's a matter of differences of opinion flaring up into something bigger than it should be.

Interesting comments...personally I havn't seen any previews or trailers for this movie - could someone tell me what its about, and when it will be released?

Laurie - I'm sad to see that the news report presented Oldman's case in such a negative way. I hate knowing that now people might think of him as an oscar-hound that would have a film re-edited to downplay another actor's role. I don't know any specifics relating to this case but I'm sure that Oldman has lots of respect for co-star Joan Allen and would not try to have any of her performance removed from the film to benefit himself.

As for questions about trailers, the trailer for the film can be seen at

There are preview pages and reviews on various movie news sites such as Aint it Cool News and

- Irma

I was disappointed with how Oldman was presented as well. I've always enjoyed his work especially Air Force One, Murder in the First, and JFK. I was also really surprised that Dreamworks would be connected to such negative press. I hope everything works out for Gary and that his career is not tarnished in any way.