The man behind the movie that might finally win Leonardo DiCaprio an oscar for the “The Revenant” just happens to be a billionaire that lists being an Israeli spy as his former occupation.
Meet Arnon Milchan. Even if you’ve never heard of him, having produced , you have definitely seen Milchan’s movies. Some of which include the most memorable films to come out of Hollywood in the last 30 years like “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Pretty Woman,” “L.A. Confidential,” “Fight Club,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman.”
During the January 10th telecast of the Golden Globes, Alejandro Iñárritu, “The Revenant’s” winning director, thanked Milchan for the unwavering support of the team behind the movie. “I want to thank first the hero of this film, which is Arnon Milchan,” Iñárritu said, “the financier and producer, who believe in this film, bravely didn’t flinch one second when we struggle with tough decisions to make.”
Born in Rehovot, Israel, Milchan, 71, inherited his father’s fertilizer company, turning it into a very successful chemical business. He founded New Regency Films in 1982 and is now reportedly worth $5.6 billion. In 2013, Milchan told the Israeli investigative documentary program Uvda (Fact) that he was an intelligence agent for Israel’s nuclear weapon program in the 1970s, telling reporters “Do you know what it’s like to be a twenty-something-year-old kid [and] his country lets him be James Bond?”
Vulture reports that according to a 2011 unauthorized biography of Milchan, “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan,”by Joseph Gelman and Meir Doron, the producer of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” first introduced Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. And when Pitt’s ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, found out about Pitt and Jolie’s affair, Milchan opened his Malibu home for Pitt to stay in.
If “The Revenant” goes on to earn an Oscar nomination and a win, as the critics foresee it might, then Milchan will have produced the winning movie for the last three Oscars in a row, making him the brightest star in Hollywood.
Maia Efrem is the former research editor and assistant to the editor and was also responsible for the Forward’s annual Salary Survey. Previously she served as the editor of Blognik Beat, a blog written by students who emigrated from or have ties to the Former Soviet Union. Maia is a graduate of Hunter College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Meet the Israeli Billionaire Who Might Finally Win Leonard DiCaprio an Oscar