Jeff Bezos’s girlfriend Lauren Sanchez has made her first indie movie, but she’s been hit by claims of presiding over a crazy shoot that ended with the director being fired – prompting friends to say she’s the victim of “sexism.”
Sanchez, 53, self-financed “The Golden Door”, a psychological thriller starring Daniella Kertesz, from ‘World War Z’, and Chris Rock’s ex-love Megalyn Echikunwoke, of ‘Night School’ fame.
The $2 million project, produced by Sanchez’s company, Adventure & Fellowship, filmed in Topanga, CA., last summer over a 20-day shoot.
But people close to production were sniffy to Puck News Monday, saying she was an “infrequent – and to some – unwelcome presence on set”, adding: “But she and Bezos did show up, her more than him, and his teen daughter was an intern on the project and was even given a small role in the film.”
The Puck report called Sanchez, who went public with her relationship with the Amazon founder in 2019, “definitely a piece of work in the over-the-top Beverly Hills striver sense of the phrase”.
It also called her “inexperienced”, despite the fact she owns her own aerial filming company Black Ops Aviation, and has previously made documentaries, including a short film about William Shatner’s trip to space on a Blue Origin rocket owned by Bezos.
The film’s first assistant director, director of photography, and script supervisor all quit during the shoot, the report said.
And the source also said she had a “relatively lavish” trailer while conditions were sweltering hot and craft services were dire, and asked to land her helicopter on set.
But a source who knows Sanchez told Page Six: “Lauren’s worked with Christopher Nolan and Cathrine Hardwicke, she’s hardly inexperienced.
“It’s just sexist; Lauren has been producing for a long time, just not in feature films. She’s a Latin woman who funded a movie with all females, which is no mean feat.”
The source admitted: “There were issues on the set, it was a little chaotic – it’s a $2 million budget movie and there were a bunch of newbies on set, new producers and semi-new directors. There was definitely more drama on set than Lauren is used to.
“Of course Lauren was going to ask to use her helicopter to film aerial shots. She was involved – she even brought her own jewelry for the actors to wear on film. As for the lavish trailer, it was a 30 ft. Star Waggon, one-room trailer she shared with all producers.
“The team is going to find a new director, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Once they do reshoots in the next two months they’ll have a complete film, and once the film is completed then they’ll look for distribution,” said the source.
The movie’s director, Kellie Madison, was fired a few weeks ago and Sanchez is finding a new director to finish and recut the film before it’s shopped to distributors, sources confirmed to Page Six.
Sanchez and Echikuwoke were spotted chatting happily at the Vanity Fair Oscars party, we’re told.
Despite everything, the source was also adamant in saying: “Amazon has nothing to do with the film!”, adding: “Lauren knows she lives under a different lens, but it doesn’t mean that reports like this don’t hurt.”
One on-set source added that the biggest disagreements came from creative and production, adding: “These were things that should have been hashed out before filming started – let me tell you, the behind the scenes fallout will be far more interesting than the movie!”
Director Madison, who’d worked on a string of low-budget movies, including directing the recent sequel ‘Never Back Down: Revolt’, gave her director’s cut in November, and producers made the call to part ways with her before ‘pick ups’ .
Another production insider confirmed to Page Six that the DP left after the first week of production because he had a disagreement with Madison, adding: “He wasn’t feeling the creative vibe of the director.” In week three of production, the AD left for a “similar issue”. Both were replaced immediately.
In a recent interview with the WSJ, Sanchez talked about going into feature films, saying: “We’re focusing on great stories. They can be movies, commercials, documentaries.”
Asked whether Sanchez will continue in feature films, the source said: “Let’s see how it goes!”
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