Regarding Jon PetersDate: October 27, 2001
Author: King Krypton (IrishWriter34@aol.com)
I saw the "How to make a Superman movie" article on the Superman Homepage, and in it, it's mentioned that the author (Steve Younis) didn't know much about Jon Peters, the Producer in charge of the "Superman Lives" project. So I'd like to give you the Cliffs notes on him, just so you know what he's all about. (By the way, most of what I'm going to tell you was documented in the book "Hit & Run", by Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters, about Peters' pre-1997 career, so you might want to check it out.)
Jon Peters (born John Pagano Peters) is a seventh-grade dropout, a reform school veteran, and a former hairdresser. The latter point is of importance because that's how he got his start. He was Barbra Streisand's hair stylist and live-in lover, and thru his relationship with her he got his first gigs as a producer (the album ButterFly, the films A Star Is Born and The Main Event). From there he partnered up with Peter Guber as co-chairman of Polygram Pictures (which he and Guber bankrupted), a house producer at WB, and eventually running Sony Pictures before returning to WB as a producer.
However, in spite or even because of his success, Peters became a bigger jerk as time went on. Notorious for bullying people, he ran roughshod over Frank Pierson on A Star Is Born, denied story credit to John Carpenter on Eyes of Laura Mars, and usurped creative control on The Witches of Eastwick from George Miller. At the beginning of his stint as a Sony exec, Peters physically threatened veteran Hollywood player Dawn Steel when she refused to kowtow to his demands. Bullying, harrassing, and mistreating actors is pretty typical for him; the cast of The Witches of Eastwick can attest to that. He's also known for being a ripoff artist; Rob Cohen, a producer who was fleeced by Peters, described Peters as "analyzing every script based on sex, killing, rock and roll, and what movie was a hit last weekend. That's the Jon Peters view of movies." George Miller echoed this, saying that Peters' "creative" ideas always pivoted around imitating whatever was the big box-office hit of the time; one week he'd want to emulate a Whoopi Goldberg moive, another week he'd want to copy Aliens. Kevin Smith, during his tenure on Superman Lives, brought up that Peters wanted Brainiac to have a cuddly space dog so the film would have its own Chewbacca, and after watching Chasing Amy he tought that Brainiac should have a gay robot sidekick, because he felt the film needed a gay R2-D2. That Peters is pursuing making a Matrix-ized Superman movie actually fits in with his past MO. Also, Peters is infamous for hogging other people's credit; the most prestigious films he's ever made -- The Color Purple, Rain Man, Gorillas In The Mist -- he's had absolutely no involvement with at all beyond slapping his name in the credits. But he goes out of his way to take credit for those films' successes. He didn't have anything to do with Flashdance, and yet he asseted that he was the man who made it what it was.
It also bears mentioning that Peters is strongly opposed to the Superman costume (he thinks it's "too pink") and the idea of Superman flying (he hated the FX in the Reeve films). Why? Because he wants to make Superman into a Batman clone. In fact, he's trying to do the very same thing to Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Two scripts that followed the comics were trashed by Peters on the basis that there wasn't enough action. So he hired his own writer to remake the Sandman as a sex-and-fist-fights action film pitting Morpheus against his evil brother the Lord of Bad Dreams for the fate of the Dreaming and for the love of a woman. Peters' vision of the Sadnman is a guy in a cape punching people out; he asserts that Gaiman's vision has no mass appeal. Gaiman has been railing against Peters' plans, only to be blown off by WB, which supports the Peters vision. Peters' idea is this; since he was involved with Batman, and that film was a hit, he can pull a Batman on other comic heroes and they'll be hits, too. Demanding that he do research before trying to mess with these characters won't work; he honestly and seriously cannot read. He's illiterate; he has to have scripts read to him by his aides.
That, I'm sad to say, is who and what Jon Peters is.
[Editor's Note: Please note that this article is one fan's opinion and views. The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Superman Homepage.]