What’s up, guys? Frazier here for Complex News.
It’s been less than a year since Aaron Hernandez took his own life while sitting behind bars on a murder conviction. But it sounds like there’s already a rush to turn Hernandez’s life story into a movie at some point in the near future. And it appears as though it’s causing some trouble in Hollywood, where at least one person is allegedly going to great lengths to stop a company from making a movie.
In January, The Mark Gordon Entertainment Co. acquired the feature film rights to the book All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderer’s Row, a book by James Patterson and Alex Abramovich. The plan was to use the rights to turn the book, which dissects the rise and fall of Hernandez, into a movie.
However, shortly after news about the company obtaining the feature film rights to the book broke, a man named Todd Guzze allegedly started harassing the company’s employees and going as far as to make gang threats while corresponding with them through email. According to Deadline, Guzze is apparently working on an Aaron Hernandez project of his own, and in an email he sent to Mark Gordon Entertainment Co. employee Josh Clay Phillips, Guzze allegedly suggested the Bloods and Latin Kings gangs were helping him make it. He also used his alleged gang affiliation to direct a threat at Phillips and the rest of the Mark Gordon Co. staff.
“I don’t need to tell you how they work…I’m keeping them at bay right now, they don’t even know this is going on at this second. So that’s my last little tidbit for you, and they’re right here in L.A.”
Guzze allegedly attached a photo of several men holding guns to his email to Phillips. Guzze also reportedly sent him a photo of Phillips and his wife that was on Phillips’ Facebook page and asked, “Is this you? From Aaron Hernandez?” He allegedly added: “Are you ready?” and “I hope it’s worth it.”
In addition to allegedly sending threats in Phillips’ direction, Guzze has also reportedly threatened to take legal action against Mark Gordon Entertainment Co. if they follow through on their plan to turn the Hernandez book into a movie. He got in touch with the Mark Gordon Entertainment Co. and the general counsel for the Machete Book Group after hearing about the plan and initially offered to partner with them on the movie. But towards the end of their correspondence, Guzze reportedly made another threat.
“You want it, I’m right here. I’ll give it to you. If you ignore me, or try to play HOLLYWOOD EGO games, I’ll implode it.”
The Santa Monica Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division is now looking into the alleged threats Guzze made to Mark Gordon Entertainment Co.
Deadline reached out to Guzze to discuss the alleged threats this week, and he seemed to respond to the allegations made against him by calling them “guerrilla marketing techniques.” He also suggested he was simply trying to get the attention of the Mark Gordon Entertainment Co. when he first started contacting them.
“The Entertainment Industry is big business, and it usually lacks a sense of humor. We’ve had to use guerrilla marketing techniques, at times, in order to get some people’s attention. We’re not the first ones to do it, and we won’t be the last. This is not about Aaron Hernandez, Natalie Wood, or Emmett Till. This is about a group of artists, some minority, that have worked really hard to get to this point, and are just looking for a specific window of opportunity to shine, or be recognized.”
While police try to make sense of exactly what’s going on here, the Mark Gordon Entertainment Co. has filed a restraining order against Guzze and asked a court to get him to leave their employees alone. A hearing is scheduled to take place on March 1 on the matter.
That’s the news for now, but for all of the latest news on Aaron Hernandez, subscribe to Complex News on YouTube. For Complex News, I’m Frazier.