Jon Peters's 'Holy Grail of Gossip' Goes Back on the Shelf
Varying degrees of allergic reactions followed the publication last week of mega-producer Jon Peters's book proposal, a sort of tell-all-within-a-tell-all that landed on Deadline Hollywood more than a month after Kim Masters had previewed it at The Daily Beast. And now, perhaps befitting the story's toxicity, Peters and his agent have withdrawn the project from public view -- reportedly leaving $700,000 of HarperCollins's money on the table and sending media watchers into conspiracy-theory fits.
Word of Studio Head, the hairdresser-turned-mogul's stunningly salacious memoir, first made the rounds last month when Masters revealed some of the book's proposed details: Barbara Walters's semi-nude come-ons, Jack Nicholson's coke-and-hooker-aided Batman courtship, violently jumping on Bob Daly's desk... and she didn't even include the deeply heinous stuff that VF.com cited about Sumner Redstone's incontinence, chasing Warren Beatty out of bed with then-wife Lesley Anne Warren, and allegedly sleeping with partner Peter Guber's wife. Ew, ew and ew.
As such, Masters, who in 1996 co-authored the definitive Peters/Guber chronicle Hit and Run, had only one bit of advice for any publisher who took the more contemporary bait: "[G]ood luck checking the facts." Peters himself was said to have appealed to a Random House editor with a "huge pile of orchids" and a promise to cut her hair. But by the time Finke published what seemed like virtually the entire proposal last Thursday (headline: "IT SHOULD BE CALLED 'DICKHEAD'"), it was HarperCollins that had offered $700,000 for the rights.
A couple days later, while you were barbecuing away the stench of Hollywood slime, a note emerged from Peters's agent saying that his "Holy Grail of gossip" had been a little too overexposed to take on now. Read: Lawyers for every dropped, boldface name in the proposal had threatened Peters with injunctions and/or litigation of one variety or another -- even though he insists he intended the project as "a celebration of, never an attack upon, the remarkable people I have known and worked with":
Because I am concerned about future leaks and a continuing sideshow that would only hinder the main event of my actually writing this book, I want to step back and work on this project privately and quietly. I somehow feel that the cat got out of the bag before the cat was ever in the bag, and the cat became a wild jungle tiger on the loose. So before this becomes the story of the "Tiger That Ate Hollywood" ... please let me pull back, cool out and calm things down.
Finke has the full letter, for what it's worth -- not to mention the continued scorn of David Poland, who says the ensuing debates over scoop ownership and Peters's leaked book proposal itself ultimately amount to "not only nothing but gossip, but gossip of the lowest order. Scumbag stuff." Of course he's right, but the market's black, shriveled heart wants what the black, shriveled heart wants, so... Yeah. And with that, I'll be right back after this brief shower.
· IT SHOULD BE CALLED 'DICKHEAD' [DHD]
· PETERS PULLS PLUG ON TELL-ALL [NYP]