You Can Now Read Bono and Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark E-mails

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/2011 Getty Images

A few weeks back, when Julie Taymor and the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark producers reached a settlement on director’s royalties, it appeared that the contentious legal battle over the troubled show might be coming to a close. Wrong! Taymor, who is still seeking back pay and copyright protections for her role as a creator and writer, filed a 46-page complaint as part of a separate Federal suit on Friday, and she is ready to play mean. The document is jam-packed with e-mails, meeting transcripts, and other personal tidbits from production; given that it was assembled by Taymor and her lawyers, it is necessarily one-sided and designed to make the other producers look as harsh as possible. Surely, some uncooperative Julie Taymor e-mails will make their way into the public record very soon. But in the meantime, Bono e-mails! Here are some highlights:

Taymor says she knew the musical had major problems, and she tried really hard to get to Bono and Edge to help with rewrites, but they were always unavailable. From a December 19 e-mail Taymor wrote to Bono and Edge:

It is nine pm in NYC. I am just about to sit down to a home cooked meal. I have been at it on [Spider-Man] nonstop. Glen has as well. We are writing lyrics, lines of dialogue, changes in music–all in service to the ending, to clarity. We know what the story is, we understand the stakes–but we do not have the lyrics to support it. I would like to talk to you before midnight my time– after I eat– to go over the situation and beg for lyrics.

Meanwhile, Bono and Edge were collaborating with Taymor’s writing partner, Glen Berger, on a rewrite with the code name “Plan X.” According to Taymor, the producers instructed Berger to work with Taymor on her proposed edits, then prepare a second edit with their own desired changes behind Taymor’s back. Some e-mails about Plan X:

Bono: “I think we have to take a twin track approach.
Berger: “I’m twin tracking it, but a bit draining when it’s 4 hours working with [Taymor] or scenes I know in my heart-of-hearts are wrong.”
Edge: “Bono spoke to Michael [Cohl] yesterday and he was in the middle of putting together a time-line for executing plan X…I want to kick the tires on plan x, but assuming it works I’m certain we will go for it.”
Berger: “Well, that’s–tentatively–encouraging.”

But, says Berger, when the group planned to tell Taymor about Plan X, Bono showed up drunk with a pack of models:

[t]he meeting was postponed until 11 p.m., when Bono was going to show up –except he showed up in our room with Christy Turlington and a couple other supermodels, and he had already had a few beers, rendering him useless – so the producers postponed the meeting till the next afternoon–but that meeting never happened.

Plan X continued without Taymor’s knowledge, according to the filing, and meanwhile, Bono sent Taymor deceptively encouraging e-mails like this one (from February, after the first round of reviews were published):

“i know today is not a surprise and the treatment by the media is as expected for a production of the scale of ours but just wanted to send my love and undying respect in case it got to you … you would think imagination was the enemy not banality…”

Then Bono and Edge fired Taymor over lunch at the Lamb’s Club. 

It’s all here! Read it now, before Bono and Edge respond.

You Can Now Read Bono and Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark E-mails