John H. Peters
June 2, 1945
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
Peters was born in Van Nuys, California as the son of Helen (née Pagano), a receptionist and Jack Peters, a cook who owned a Hollywood diner. He is of Cherokee (father) and Italian (mother) descent. His mother's family owned a renowned salon on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Jack Peters died when Jon was 10 years old and Helen later remarried.
Peters first joined the family hairdressing business at Rodeo Drive where he made many film industry connections. Peters designed a short wig that Barbra Streisand wore for the comedy For Pete's Sake (1974). The couple began a relationship. He later produced Streisand's studio album ButterFly (1974) and also gained a producing credit on Streisand's remake of A Star Is Born (1976), although the extent of his contribution has been disputed. He also worked alongside Peter Guber for the next 10 years with whom he headed Sony Pictures Entertainment from 1989 until 1991.
Superman Lives, Superman Returns and Man of Steel
In the early 1990s, Peters bought the film rights to the Superman franchise from Warner Bros. In his Q&A/comedy DVD An Evening With Kevin Smith, writer/director Kevin Smith talked about working for Peters when he was hired to write a script for a new Superman film which was then called Superman Reborn and later Superman Lives. According to Smith, Peters had expressed disdain for most of Superman's iconic characteristics by demanding that Superman was never to fly nor appear in his trademark costume. He also suggested Sean Penn as being ideal for the role based on his performance as a death row inmate in Dead Man Walking in which he said that Penn had the eyes of a "caged animal, a fucking killer." Peters then demanded that the third act of the film include a fight between Superman and a giant spider, to be unveiled in an homage to King Kong. Peters later produced the 1999 steampunk western comedy Wild Wild West, the finale of which featured a giant mechanical spider.
Smith met Peters after completing a script and Peters instructed him to include a robot sidekick for Brainiac, a fight scene between Brainiac and two polar bears and a marketable "space dog" pet similar to Star Wars character Chewbacca. Smith inserted them into his script but the project was then abandoned and the script discarded.
In Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman, Peters admitted that the Superman franchise was problematic for him: "The elements that I was focusing on were away from the heart, it was more leaning towards 'Star Wars' in a sense, you know. I didn't realize the human part of it, I didn't have that."
He subsequently served as a producer for Superman Returns, the 2006 Superman film directed by Bryan Singer and as an executive producer for Man of Steel, the 2013 Superman film directed by Zack Snyder. Peters was banned from the Man of Steel set by producer Christopher Nolan.
Peters was a producer for a planned adaptation of the Sandman comics for Warner Bros., which met with controversy. One draft script commissioned by Peters was reviewed on the Internet at Ain't It Cool News, and was met with scorn. Sandman creator Neil Gaiman called the last screenplay that Warner Bros. would send him "...not only the worst Sandman script I've ever seen, but quite easily the worst script I've ever read." By 2001, the project had become stranded in development hell.
In a 2005 interview, Gaiman commented: "But Sandman movies, they just got increasingly appalling. It was really strange. They started out hiring some really good people and you got Elliott and Rossio and Roger Avary came in and did a draft. They were all solid scripts. And then Jon Peters fired all of them and got in some people who take orders, and who wanted fistfights and all this stuff. It had no sensibility and it was just...they were horrible."
Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood blog reported on a book proposal for the autobiography of Peters, written by himself and Los Angeles writer William Stadiem. Peters reportedly intended to write about his life with Streisand and a string of other celebrity lovers. In 2009, he subsequently withdrew from the HarperCollins book deal after adverse publicity triggered by the leaking of the proposal and potential lawsuits.
Harassment lawsuit and end of career
In August 2011, a Los Angeles jury ordered Peters to pay a former assistant $3.3 million after finding she was subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment during production of Superman Returns. Since 2009, Peters has been credited for four projects: two for executive producing and two for producing.
|1976||A Star Is Born|
|1978||Eyes of Laura Mars|
|1979||The Main Event||As executive producer|
|Caddyshack||As executive producer|
|1981||An American Werewolf in London||As executive producer|
|1982||Missing||As executive producer|
|D.C. Cab||As executive producer|
|The Legend of Billie Jean||As executive producer|
|Clue||As executive producer|
|The Color Purple||As executive producer|
|Head Office||As executive producer|
|1986||The Clan of the Cave Bear||As executive producer|
|Youngblood||As executive producer|
|Brotherhood of Justice||As executive producer; made-for-television film|
|1987||The Witches of Eastwick|
|Innerspace||As executive producer|
|Who's That Girl||As executive producer|
|1988||Nightmare at Bittercreek||As executive producer; made-for-television film|
|Gorillas in the Mist||As executive producer|
|Missing Link||As executive producer|
|Rain Man||As executive producer|
|1989||Finish Line||As executive producer; made-for-television film|
|Tango & Cash|
|1990||The Bonfire of the Vanities||As executive producer|
|1992||Batman Returns||As executive producer|
|1993||This Boy's Life||As executive producer|
|1994||With Honors||As executive producer|
|1996||My Fellow Americans|
|1999||Wild Wild West|
|2009||Celebration: The Video Collection||producer - video "Crazy for You"|
|2013||Man of Steel||As executive producer|
|2018||A Star Is Born|
- Griffin, Nancy; Masters, Kim (1996). Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80931-1.
- According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
- "Jon Peters Biography (1945?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Shah, Diane K. (October 22, 1989). "The Producers". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- "Jon Peters biography" Yahoo Movies
- Barbra by Donald Zec and Anthony Fowles, chapter 17
- on YouTube
- Rossen, Jake (2008). Superman Vs. Hollywood: How Fiendish Producers, Devious Directors, and Warring Writers Grounded an American Icon. Chicago Review Press. p. 217. ISBN 1-55652-731-4.
- Cronin, Brian (2009). Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed. Penguin Group. p. 25. ISBN 0-452-29532-7.
- on YouTube
- ""I Am the Trump of Hollywood": The Reclusive and Outrageous Jon Peters Is Still Rich. Really Rich". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Moriarty takes a look at what Jon Peters has done with Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN property!!! – Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news
- Comics2Film: Sandman Archived December 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "Interview: Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon", Time, 2005
- "IT SHOULD BE CALLED 'DICKHEAD': Why Jon Peters' Book Proposal Sets New Low", Deadline Hollywood
- "PETERS PULLS PLUG ON TELL-ALL" Archived May 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Post, May 23, 2009
- Film producer ordered to pay $3 million in sex case
- Hollywood Docket: 'Superman' Producer Jon Peters Ordered To Pay $3.3 Mil in Sexual Harassment Trial
- Coleman, Jim (October 1995). "Eight men enter, one man leaves". Black Belt. pp. 54–59. Retrieved August 27, 2017.