Turns out, Harvey Weinstein was once threatened by Studio Ghibli with an actual sword
Image credits: KCET
Recently, there was some information about this rumor from Steve Alpert, a former executive at Studio Ghibli who worked closely with the director, Hayao Miyazaki. During an interview, he revealed that the story the director told didn’t quite line up with what he had heard around work. “I would be personally very curious to know exactly when and to whom Miyazaki told this story. While I was at Ghibli, I think I was with him for every single one of his foreign press interviews and I never heard, or even heard of, him telling this story,” Steve Alpert said.
He received the threat after Weinstein wanted to cut the studio’s film called Princess Mononoke
Image credits: Studio Ghibli
Then, Steve cleared up the rumors about who actually sent the sword – turns out, it was done by Toshiro Suzuki, a co-founder and producer of Studio Ghibli. Toshiro apparently delivered the sword to Harvey Weinstein and gifted it to him while yelling “no cuts” after Miramax (with whom Weinstein worked) threatened to cut the film “Princess Mononoke” (Back in 1996, Disney made a deal with Studio Ghibli to release English-language dubs of its films in the United States. At the time, Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax was a Disney subsidiary, and the executive was tasked with the release of Ghibli’s “Princess Mononoke.”)
In his newly-published memoir “Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli,” Steve Alpert revealed that Weinstein went into a rage after the director Hayao Miyazaki refused to cut the “Princess Mononoke” runtime from 135 minutes to 90 minutes. Allegedly, Harvey Weinstein said: “If you don’t get [Hayao Miyazaki] to cut the [damn] film you will never work in this [damn] industry again! Do you <…> understand me? Never!”
As it turned out, producer Toshiro Suzuki chose this method of persuasion
“Suzuki knew of a small, hard-to-find store in Tokyo hidden away underneath the train tracks between Shinbashi and Yurakucho. It was where Japanese film studios bought the realistic-looking weapons used in Japanese samurai movies. Suzuki picked out a sword there and brought it with him to New York for our meeting with Harvey. It was a very convincing replica of a Japanese samurai sword. It was realistic in every detail except that the blade was not sharp, which you could not tell unless you got a good, close look at it,” Steve Alpert writes in his memoir.
“These were still the days when you could bring a samurai sword with you in your carry-on luggage on a commercial flight from Tokyo to New York. Suzuki presented the sword to Harvey in a conference room full of horrified Miramax employees. One of them later approached me and said, “You gave Harvey a SWORD? Are you CRAZY?”
When Suzuki presented Harvey with the sword, Suzuki shouted in English and in a loud voice, “Mononoke Hime, NO CUT!””