Scott Rudin (born July 14, 1958) is an American motion picture producer and theatre producer known for his award-winning films and Broadway plays and also for his legendary temper.
Rudin was born and raised in the New York City area. At 15 years old, he started working as an assistant to renowned theatre producer Kermit Bloomgarden. Later, he worked for producers Robert Whitehead and Emanuel Azenberg. In lieu of college, Rudin took a job as a casting agent and ended up starting his own company. His newly minted firm cast numerous Broadway shows, including Pippin (1972), for Stuart Ostrow and Bob Fosse, and Annie (1977), for Mike Nichols. He also cast PBS's Verna USO Girl (1978), starring Sissy Spacek and William Hurt, and the movies King of the Gypsies (1978), The Wanderers (1979), Simon (1980) with Alan Arkin and Resurrection (1980).
In 1980, Rudin moved to Los Angeles, taking up employment at Edgar J. Scherick Associates, where he served as producer on a variety of films including I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can (1981), the NBC mimiseries Little Gloria... Happy at Last (1982) and the Oscar-winning documentary He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983).
After his stint at Edgar J. Sherick Associates, Rudin formed his own outfit, Scott Rudin Productions. His first film under that banner was Gillian Armstrong's Mrs. Soffel (1984). But, not long after, Rudin placed his production shingle in dormancy and joined 20th Century-Fox as a executive producer. At Fox, he met Jonathan Dolgen, a higher-level executive, with whom he would be working once again at Paramount Pictures years later. Rudin swiftly rose through the ranks at Fox and became president of production by 1986 at the age of 29. His stint at the top of Fox was short lived though, and he soon left and entered into a producing deal with Paramount.
On August 1, 1992, at the age of 34, Rudin allowed his contract with Paramount Pictures to expire and signed a deal with Tri-Star Pictures. Under the terms of his Paramount agreement, he was not given a development fund, the account from which top producers typically draw in order to cover movie acquisition and development expenses. His Tri-Star deal, on the other hand, was a three-year, first-look agreement, guaranteeing him a minimum of $1.5 million per year, a $1.5 million producer fee per picture, a discretionary fund of $2 million-plus and a back-end commitment of about 5% of first dollar gross with lucrative built-in escalations. . This arrangement required Rudin to produce three movies per year for the studio.
At the time, Rudin was quoted in the film industry trade paper Variety as saying, "It [the Tri-Star deal] allows me to really feel like I'm a partner with the studio rather than an employee of a studio and to feel I have control with the elements and the way the pictures are mounted... This deal gives me the ability to make what I want to make in the way I want to make them and to move freely in terms of developing and purchasing material."
His deal with Tri-Star, however, was brief, and he soon moved back to Paramount under even more agreeable terms. Rudin's first look deal with Paramount Pictures lasted nearly fifteen years, ending in 2005. The terms of his contract granted him money to cover the overhead for Scott Rudin Productions and its 15 to 20-odd employees, along with a $3 million discretionary fund and a 7.5% cut of the back-end gross income.
However, after the resignation of Paramount's chairwoman, Sherry Lansing in 2004, and nearly simultaneous departure of Jonathan Dolgen (then president of the company), Rudin left the studio and set a five-year first-look pact with Disney that allowed him to make movies under their labels Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films. Although he had an often contentious relationship with Lansing, particularly at the end of her tenure when Paramount struggled for a single hit movie, her departure -- along with Dolgen's, helped instigate his move. Even though Rudin was not always fond of Lansing's later-term decisions, he still knew her well and had formed an amiable relationship with her -- more than could be said of his connections with the studio's incoming higher-ups.
Another significant reason for Rudin's departure was it allowed him to channel his more arty fare through Disney's Miramax Films subsidiary. Since Harvey and Bob Weinstein had left Miramax, the company they founded in 1979, Rudin felt he would be free at Disney to utilize its resources. Laura M. Holson of The New York Times wrote on April 21, 2005: "Rudin is likely to fill the gap [left by the departure of Harvey and Bob Weinstein] by providing the sort of high-quality, offbeat art films that Disney has struggled to create on its own."
When the Weinsteins were running Miramax and it's sister label Dimension Films, Harvey and Rudin had public confrontations during the production of The Hours (2002), which Rudin produced for Miramax. Further, Harvey Weinstein and Rudin had public spats that drifted into personal territory. Consequently, the idea of becoming a big producer for the mini-major studio, with the Weinsteins unable to intercede was perhaps enticing to Rudin.
Over the years, Rudin has produced a diverse array of films, ranging from widely distributed arthouse fare to mainstream Hollywood features. He has been responsible for films by John Schlesinger (Pacific Heights, 1990, starring Melanie Griffith, Michael Keaton and Matthew Modine); Mike Nichols (Regarding Henry, 1991, starring Harrison Ford and [[Annette Bening); and first-time directors Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate, 1991, starring Foster, Diane Wiest and Adam Hann-Byrd) and Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family, 1991, starring Raúl Juliá, Angelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci). Sonnenfeld's The Addams Family became a major franchise, as did Emile Ardolino's sleeper hit Sister Act (1992), with Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith.
Rudin had a string of box-office failures in the early nineties, highlighted by "White Sands" (1992, with Willem Dafoe and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), "Jennifer 8" (1992, with Andy Garcia and Uma Thurman) and "Life with Mikey" (1993). All three movies struggled among that year's competitive summer slate. However, Rudin was soon redeemed by the star-studded legal thriller "The Firm" (1993), which was a monster hit -- his most profitable movie to date with, at least, $270,248,367 worldwide gross -- and "Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), which garnered critical acclaim. Surprisingly, shortly before "Searching for Bobby Fischer" was released Fischer himself, the renowned young chess prodigy, popped out of hiding in Yugoslavia after 20 years in seclusion. At the time, Rudin was quoted by Army Archerd of Variety as saying, "I'm not concerned [about the reemergence of Fischer]. It can only be good, to help publicize the picture... He [Fischer] is never seen in the movie--he never appears."
Subsequently, Rudin oversaw production of the romantic comedy I.Q. (1994), starring Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins; the Paul Newman film Nobody's Fool (1994); the dark horse hit Clueless (1995), a breakout movie for Alicia Silverstone; and Sydney Pollack's remake, Sabrina (1995). In 1996, he produced The First Wives Club, a hit comedy starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton. Keaton was also in Albert Brooks' Mother (1996, with Debbie Reynolds) and along side Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro in Marvin's Room (1996), a film that also featured a young Leonardo DiCaprio playing a mentally disabled boy. Both were produced by Rudin. Later in '96, Rudin teamed with producer Brian Grazer on Ron Howard's Ransom, which starred Mel Gibson, Rene Russo and Gary Sinise. Grazer had to get an exemption from his deal at Universal Pictures to join Rudin on that project, which has been the only movie the two powerhouse producers have worked on together. 
Along with Robert Redford, Rudin also co-produced Steven Zaillian's adaptation of Jonathan Hare's non-fiction book A Civil Action (1998), starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall. In the movie, the two stars play opposing lawyers, who represent the residents of Woburn, Mass., on the one hand, and the multi-million dollar corporations, Beatrice Foods and Grace Industries, on the other. The film dramatizes events of the lawsuit, which produced the largest environmental out-of-court settlement in Massachussets's history, at a total of $69.4 million.
Through the nineties, Rudin was a prolific producer, putting together movies that include the following: In & Out (1997), starring Kevin Klein; the hit movie, The Truman Show (1998), with Jim Carrey; the Matt Stone and Trey Parker-developed movies, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Team America: World Police (2004); Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead (1999); Sleepy Hollow (1999), with Johnny Depp; Wonder Boys (2000), starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire, based on the award-winning novel by Michael Chabon; Shaft (2000), the remake with Samuel L. Jackson; the hit comedy, Zoolander (2001), starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; Wes Anderson's two arthouse, ensemble-cast hits The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004); the well-received Jack Black starrer The School of Rock (2003); Orange County (2002) written by The School of Rock writer, Mike White; The Manchurian Candidate (2004) with Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber; Richard Eyre's Iris (2001), starring Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent, the latter of whom won an Oscar for his supporting role in the film; The Stepford Wives (2004), starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Bette Middler; M. Night Shyamalan's The Village (2004), with Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver; David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees (2004), with Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts ; Mike Nichols' Closer (2004), starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts; Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), starring Jim Carey, Jude Law and Meryl Streep (2004); Freedomland (2006), with Samuel L. Jackson; and Failure to Launch (2006), starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey; among many others.
His most recent films include Notes on a Scandal" (2006), starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench and based on the best-selling book What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal; Venus (2006), starring Peter O'Toole; and The Queen (2006), starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, a role that won her an Oscar for Best Actress. O'Toole and Dench were also nominated for Oscars in the 2006-2007 season for their leading roles in their respective films. Only Mirren won. Notes on a Scandal received two other Oscar nominations: Blanchett for supporting role and Patrick Marber for Best Adapted Screenplay. Most notably, The Queen was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, along with Stephen Frears for Best Director, and Peter Morgan for Best Original Screenplay.
Rudin is currently developing adaptations of the novels The Corrections, Special Topics in Calamity Physics and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. He is also in various stages of production on the following projects, among many others: Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, based on Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! and starring Daniel Day-Lewis; The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the best-selling novel of the same name and starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana; Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, with Anna Paquin; David Gordon Green's The Goat; an untitled Alan Ball project; and two Wes Anderson pictures, The Darjeeling Limited and The Fantastic Mr. Fox, the latter of which is based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name and starring George Clooney, Angelica Houston, Cate Blanchett and Jason Schwartzman.
Rudin also continues to produce for the theatre. He co-produced the unsuccessful staging of David Henry Hwang's Face Value with Stuart Ostrow and Jujamcyn Theaters. He started a deal with Jujamcyn to develop and produce new plays for the theater chain. In 1994, Rudin won Best Musical Tony Award for his production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion. The following year, he, along with others, produced Kathleen Turner's Broadway comeback, Indiscretions, and Ralph Fiennes New York theatre debut, Hamlet. In 1996, Rudin produced the revival of the Stephen Sondheim and Larry Gelbart musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which starred Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella and Mark Linn-Baker. Rudin also produced The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Beckett/Albee, and the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
Rudin engaged in a lawsuit with Stephen Sondheim over the composer's latest musical, Bounce, a development that partially contributed to the production's demise. 
Rudin ranked #18 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List, up from his 2002 position at #26.
Rudin, who is openly gay, continues to live in New York City with his life partner, John Barlow, a broadway theatre publicist and founding partner of Barlow Hartman Public Relations.
It is estimated that Rudin has had anywhere between 120 and 250 assistants over a four year period, earning him a reputation as one of the entertainment industry's most feared bosses. There are other Hollywood moguls who fit the build, such as Jeremy Zimmer (chronicled in David Rensin's book, The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up), Judith Regan, Joel Silver, Harvey Weinstein, Barry Diller and David Geffen among many others, but Rudin is often cited as the most verbally abusive. Not surprisingly, two of the hottest heads in Hollywood, Rudin and Harvey Weinstein, feuded during the production of The Hours, a movie that was produced by Rudin at Miramax Films, the mini-major movie studio that Weinstein ran with his brother Bob for Disney at the time of the film's production.
Rudin said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, "There is one shop in town [Miramax] that is making challenging movies. I think it's incredible that he [Weinstein] has found a way to run a business making these kind of movies." However, "we are both control freaks. We both want to run our own shows. When I'm doing a Miramax movie, I work for him. And I don't like that feeling. I chafe under that. I especially chafe under it when I feel that I'm on a leash."
Accounts of the relationship between Rudin and his assistants unfold like a drama, literally. The experiences of Andrea Sachs in the novel, The Devil Wears Prada (novel), in which she is an assistant to a verbally abusive fashion mogul named Miranda Priestly has been described as frighteningly similar to life under Rudin. Rudin is rumored to have been the inspiration for Buddy Ackerman, the crude, verbally abusive movie mogul played by Kevin Spacey in the film Swimming with Sharks. However Nikki Finke counters that allegation, stating that the actual model was movie producer, Barry Josephson.