Kiwi film great Sir Peter Jackson was described as one of the "most controlling film makers" in the world in an email apparently hacked from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The reference to Sir Peter was made in one of a number of emails among Sony's top executives expected to be released online today which show some of the industry's most powerful people taking a "kid gloves" approach to Sir Peter and protege director Neill Blomkamp over the District 9 film, which Sony wanted to franchise into a TV series.
An email apparently sent by company co-chair Amy Pascal shows her pushing back against announcements of the planned District 9 television series to be released through PlayStation, saying, "This isn't gonna happen on this kind of a timeline."
"These are two of the most controlling film makers [in] the world and as close as I am with Neill, and as much as he has expressed interest in talking about it, he hasn't even had time to digest it and he owns iwth [sic] Peter Jackson who also has to opine on it."
District 9 was an Oscar-nominated financially successful film about a spaceship of refugee aliens kept in camps on the outskirts of Johannesburg. It was produced by Sir Peter and directed by Blomkamp.
The emails appear to show Sir Peter securely in the upper echelons of the entertainment business, with Sony's enthusiasm and urgency to develop the District 9 franchise tempered by its need to keep the film makers onside.
They are among a series of documents shared exclusively by WikiLeaks with the Herald and newspapers in Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy and the US. It is believed WikiLeaks has access to a vast trove of Sony documents, most likely from the same hack who spilled the secrets of executives and stars of the studio to the world five months ago.
The hack was said to be motivated by the release of the Seth Rogen movie The Interview, which involves an assassination plot targeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The emails referring to Sir Peter and Blomkamp carry none of the barbs present in the exchanges previously released online. Instead, they show how high in the entertainment world the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit director has risen.
In December 2013, Sony Pictures Television president Zack Van Amburg told colleagues PlayStation - a Sony company - and Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andy House wanted to launch the District 9 series as "their first signature show".
However, Mr Van Amburg warned that "everyone wants to push this forward [but] Amy feels she can't press Neill and Peter Jackson this quickly and the process needs to evolve more slowly".
In another email from Ms Pascal to Mr House and chief executive Michael Lynton, she writes of "pushing" Blomkamp and Sir Peter but "they just hadn't been ready". She said she had wanted a sequel to District 9.
In relation to what appeared to be a different project, she expressed relief at a "breakthrough", with Blomkamp developing a "treatment" for a movie and a game that would be released at the same time.
"Obviously he and Peter would want creative control and I'm not sure how that would work with PS but if one were to give it to anyone they would probably be the ones."
Sony has not launched a District 9 series and Blomkamp recently indicated there were no firm plans for a movie sequel.
A spokesman for Sir Peter offered no comment on the emails, saying: "We're going to focus on opening a World War I museum in Wellington." The event is scheduled for today.
Herald entertainment editor Russell Baillie, who has interviewed Sir Peter and written extensively about his film empire, said District 9 was a special film for Sony because it was an original idea that could be turned into a valuable franchise.
He said other studios had developed franchises which had been profitable while Sony was casting for its own series.
Sony would see Sir Peter as a film maker in a similar league to James Cameron or Steven Spielberg. "In egalitarian New Zealand we see him as 'good old Peter Jackson', but in their world, these people are totems."
Baillie said Sir Peter was at a stage in his career where he was cautious about the number of projects to which he could commit time and would be highly selective.
"Taking anything other than a proprietary interest would be a big ask. What's his incentive? Money? He's as rich as Croesus."
Insomnia Security analyst Adam Boileau said the high-profile security breaches in New Zealand and abroad showed how vulnerable data was.
He said many people spent work days in front of computers and considered security an issue for the IT department. "It's a problem everybody has to contribute to."
Sony Pictures in NZ and the US were notified in detail of the revelations and asked for comment. No comment has yet been made.
Q&A: Leaks that swamped Sony
Who hacked Sony?
A group calling itself the "Guardians of Peace" claimed credit. US intelligence agencies said the hack could be traced to North Korea, although security experts suggested former and current Sony staff were behind it.
Why did they hack Sony?
The "Guardians" linked the hack to the planned release of the film The Interview, which focuses on a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The hackers demanded the studio pull the movie, which it did before later putting it forward for a limited release.
What was hacked?
The hackers released a series of Sony films online, including Annie - which had yet to screen in theatres - and Brad Pitt's WWII movie Fury. Script details for Spider-Man and the new James Bond film, Spectre, were also released.
There were also emails from George Clooney about reviews of I. "I fear I've let you all down. Not my intention. I apologise. I've just lost touch ... Who knew?"
In another email, producer Scott Rodin described star Angelina Jolie as "a minimally talented spoiled brat".
Sony co-chair Amy Pascal was also embarrassed by racially charged movie references in a discussion about President Barack Obama.
Studio backed off Dotcom action
Exposure to a lawsuit from Kim Dotcom saw one of the world's big six film studios back off a bid to legally restrain his assets, according to emails hacked from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Sony's top copyright lawyer, Aimee Wolfson, said it was "not at all unimaginable" that the internet tycoon would avoid extradition or even successfully defend himself in the United States.
Emails relating to the Dotcom case were revealed by WikiLeaks yesterday in a database of emails hacked from the global entertainment giant.
Those relating to the Dotcom case show Sony to be less sure privately about the criminal and civil charges facing the internet entrepreneur than the bullish public attitude from the Hollywood studios.
Crunch-time for Sony came mid-2014 when the Hollywood studios filed papers in New Zealand courts to restrain Dotcom's assets.
Ms Wolfson recommended Sony pull back from the joint action against Dotcom in New Zealand.
The other five studios went ahead.