Mr. Bannon Goes To Washington

It’s been said that politics is Hollywood for ugly people, and no one would mistake Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, for Channing Tatum. Yet Bannon, the executive chairman and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, has a Hollywood history that included a partnership with Jeff Kwatinetz in his former company, The Firm, among other ventures.

Photo: YouTube

It’s an unlikely pairing, one that describes as “the Jewish liberal and the neo-con anti-Semite…in bed together.”

But Bannon had dabbled in movies as executive producer, or one of the money men, in such marginal films as Sean Penn’s “The Indian Runner” and Anthony Hopkins-starrer “Titus” after he left Goldman Sachs in 1990.

Money talks, and Bannon was involved in negotiations for the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Turner Broadcasting in 1993 – earning himself a piece of “Seinfeld” royalties in the process. At some point along the way, Bannon met Kwatinetz as the latter was just launching The Firm. Kwatinetz reportedly made Bannon The Firm’s chief financial officer.

In that role, according to Vanity Fair, Bannon offered CAA co-founder Mike Ovitz just $5 million for his foundering Artists Management Group.

Kwatinetz eventually upped the ante to $12 million before acquiring Ovitz’s last hurrah in Hollywood. Bannon, according to a professional profile at, worked for The Firm from 2002-03.

That wasn’t the end of his entertainment aspirations, however. Bannon became immersed in conservative activism and directed or produced such conservative fare as “In The Face Of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed” (2004), “Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration” (2006), “Fire From The Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman” (2010) and “The Undefeated” (2011), a Sarah Palin hagiography.

But most curious is one reported project that was never produced: “The Thing I Am,” an adaption of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” into a musical “rap film … set in South Central during the L.A. riots – that was Steve’s idea,” one-time writing partner Julia Jones told The Daily Beast.

Jones shared excerpts of the screenplay with the website, which said the treatment “includes rap music, racial tensions aplenty, looting, gangster ‘foot-soldiers,’ and chaos at ‘ground zero of the 1992 L.A. riots.’”

Characters included “Agrippa, ‘Mack Daddy’ of South Central, an ORIGINAL GANGSTA (O.G.) upper-echelon Blood.” Daily Beast describes “The Thing I Am” as “drenched in the kind of race-war spectacles that Bannon’s then-future website would cash in on.”