Hollywood’s Qaddafi Problem
(New York Times) — Things have gotten chilly here for Natural Selection, the film production company backed by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s son Saadi. On its office line, a recorded message has been the only answer for much of the last week. Outside the company’s suite on Sunset Boulevard — across the street from the Hustler store and under a billboard promoting the Jerry Weintraub documentary “His Way” — a parking spot identified as Natural Selection’s is blocked by a battered white van with four flat tires. (An attendant’s notice taped to the back is dated Feb. 2.)
And Mathew Beckerman, the producer who made a splashin Variety last year with word that he had rounded up $100 million in financing for the company from Mr. Qaddafi and others, is suddenly getting a very cold shoulder. Over the weekend, Mr. Beckerman’s name was deleted from the producer credits of a documentary, “Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale,” on the official Web site of the South by Southwest festival, which begins this week in Austin, Tex.
In an e-mail on Saturday, Theresa Vibberts, who works with the movie’s director, Danny Clinch, said simply, “Natural Selection is not involved in the film.” Neither Ms. Vibberts nor Mr. Clinch responded further to queries about the sudden disappearance of Mr. Beckerman’s credit, or a listing that shows Natural Selection among the movie’s backers on the Internet Movie Database. So it goes when Hollywood begins to suspect it has made a mistake.