Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Do we smell another Argo?
Israeli producer Arnon Milchan has produced 126 films since 1977, including major titles like Pretty Woman, Fight Club, L.A. Confidential, Free Willy, Natural Born Killers and this year's buzzworthy 12 Years a Slave.
But the 68-year-old Hollywood exec recently confirmed reports that he spent part of that time negotiation weapons deals on behalf of Israel.
In the 1960s, Israeli President Shimon Peres recruited Milchan to the Bureau of Scientific Relations, a government agency that collected scientific and technical information from foreign sources for use on secret defense systems.
"His strength is in making connections at the highest levels," Peres was quoted as saying in a 2010 book about Milchan. "His activities gave us a huge advantage, strategically, diplomatically and technologically."
Udva reported that Milchan brokered deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars between Israeli and American companies for missiles and other arms. He once convinced a German engineer to smuggle a safe full of classified documents and worked with late director Sydney Pollack on the occasional illicit deal.
But occasionally his reputation preceded him.
"In Hollywood, they don't like working with an arms dealer, ideologically … with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing," Milchan said. "Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I'm not an arms dealer. If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country."
[Haaretz, The Guardian]