The summer movie season is a pandemic-afflicted bust. But Hollywood is overcompensating with a real-life blockbuster: Starring a savvy young actress who takes down two powerful studio heads, it reads like a reboot of “Basic Instinct” meets “Fatal Attraction.”
Despite a lackluster career, 28-year-old Charlotte Kirk snagged marquee headlines this week after toppling the four-decade career of Ron Meyer — formerly one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood (having worked with stars like Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Cher) and, since 2013, the vice chairman of NBCUniversal.
Meyer, 75, admitted to paying money to Kirk in response to what he said was a demand from her. He characterized her as a woman with whom he had a “brief consensual affair” in 2012, while still married to his second wife, Kelly.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Meyer paid Kirk at least $500,000 as part of a promised $2 million settlement in 2019.
In a statement this week, Meyer claimed that third parties “continuously attempted to extort me into paying them money” by threatening to publish false claims about Meyer or falsely implicate NBCUniversal in the ordeal, and that Kirk (whom he did not name) had “made false accusations against” him.
Kirk’s lawyer, who had no comment for The Post, told Variety that he’s “never done a settlement with Ron Meyer on anything.”
Meanwhile, last year, Kevin Tsujihara, 55, stepped down as the CEO of Warner Brothers Entertainment after it was revealed that he tried to get film auditions for Kirk, with whom he, too, had an extramarital affair.
Text messages — between Kirk, Tsujihara and others — leaked to The Hollywood Reporter in 2019 seem to suggest that Kirk’s sexual favors may have also helped grease a $450 million deal between Warner Bros. and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a production company owned by two of her early benefactors: director Brett Ratner and billionaire James Packer, whom Kirk reportedly also dated. (Representatives for Meyer, Tsujihara and Packer did not return calls for comment. Ratner had no comment.)
Some of these power players have accused Kirk of “blackmail” and “extortion” in her desperate climb up the Tinseltown ladder.
“She is cunning and knows what she wants,” producer Jana Grazer, the sister-in-law of super-producer Brian Grazer, told The Post of Kirk.
She recalled seeing Kirk in acting classes. “My husband [director Gavin Grazer] would come in to watch the actors on the showcase nights. [Charlotte] was super-aggressive and she attempted to hit on my husband a few times. He’s a director and related to Brian . . . I know her type.
“Her networking style is pushy and aggressive. She wore short, tight dresses. But I thought she was really talented. She reminded me of a young Nicole Kidman.”
Born Charlotte Dyke, the daughter of a nurse, in Kent, England, the future Kirk decided — according to her bio on IMDb.com — to be an actress when she saw “Gone With the Wind” at age 11. She started off in regional stage productions of “Oliver Twist” and “Hairspray.” But Kirk, who reportedly studied acting in London and New York City, had bigger dreams.
An early acting bio — in which Kirk described herself as “industrious” and “socialable” (sic) — obtained by The Post reveals that she modeled, competed in beauty pageants and appeared in an ad for Nintendo.
“Charlotte Kirk has come a long way from the impressionable child in London, but still has a lot to learn,” the bio reads. “She hopes Hollywood can teach her what years in school did not.”
Her Hollywood adventure actually began in London in 2012. That’s when the aspiring actress met Meyer at an event hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
“She went up and introduced herself to him,” said someone familiar with the situation. “She was very resourceful.”
Kirk moved to LA about a year later and started a consensual affair with Meyer that went on for no more than a month, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Post.
She also met Ratner, who owned RatPac-Dune along with Packer and Steven Mnuchin. (Mnuchin sold his interest when he became President Trump’s treasury secretary.)
Ratner introduced Kirk to Packer, now 52. According to the leaked texts and to statements from Kirk herself, she had a brief affair with the billionaire and the two remained on good terms. So much so that in September 2013, he texted the actress wannabe with instructions to go to the Hotel Bel-Air to meet Tsujihara, indicating that — for someone hungry to be on the big screen — this could be the break of a lifetime.
Also, Ratner and Packer’s company landed a $450 million deal with Warner Bros. three days later.
“She was looking for any opening she could get,” a source who knew Kirk around this time told The Post. “She’d touch the arms of powerful men. She was looking for a way in. If you have beauty and enough sensibility at the same time, you can make things happen [in Hollywood].”
Kirk later complained to Packer that Tsujihara “only wanted to f–k,” but she began an affair with him anyway.
“Charlotte is attractive but she’s not beautiful. Maybe she is sexually . . . interesting,” speculated William Blaylock, a veteran Hollywood producer who knows Meyer and who recently produced “Walking With Herb,” starring Edward James Olmos.
And she seemingly had no trouble playing hardball with these men.
Not long after they met, Tsujihara texted Kirk after a screening: “It was good, but I would rather have watched ur music video on loop for a night…” — a reference to one of Kirk’s soft-core music videos available on YouTube.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, she wasted no time asking if Tsujihara had talked to his “guys” about a TV show she had read for.
Over the next year, communications show the two making plans — while Kirk also asked about auditions and Tsujihara seemed to grow increasingly weary of her demands.
In March 2015, Kirk angrily e-mailed him about a role she actually landed — presumably in the WB film “How to Be Single” — saying: “Kevin? A two liner?? U have got to be kidding me!!”
The Tsujihara affair ended, but Kirk walked away with a slightly larger part in 2018’s “Ocean’s 8,” also a Warner Bros. flick.
Kirk wasn’t only rubbing elbows with men at the top of the Hollywood heap — and insiders allege that her lesser-known lovers tried to extort the more famous one.
She also dated Joshua Newton, a low-budget director who cast her in the upcoming “Nicole & O.J.” in which Kirk plays Nicole Brown Simpson.
“She attempted to hit on my husband . . . Her networking style is pushy.”
– Jana Grazer
And she’s now engaged to Neil Marshall, who has directed episodes of “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld,” as well as a 2019 big-screen remake of “Hellboy.” He, too, has worked with Kirk, on her passion project “The Reckoning” — a horror film, co-written by and starring her and produced and directed by him. It opened the online Fantasia International Film Festival Thursday, after organizers canceled a Q&A with Kirk and Marshall.
“It’s clear ‘The Reckoning’ is meant to be a star vehicle for Kirk — she’s made up and shot like a model even while in a squalid prison . . .,” wrote BadFeelingMag.com. “But the film is simply too hokey to take seriously.”
Multiple sources told Page Six that Newton and Marshall separately attempted to extort Meyer — for money, introductions and work — leading to the ouster at NBCUniversal. They allegedly threatened to go public with Meyer’s affair with Kirk and the settlement he allegedly promised her after it ended.
Marshall and Newton deny the allegations; Newton was unreachable and Marshall did not reply to requests for comment. A source close to the matter said that Meyer has made complaints about both men to the FBI, along with one about Kirk.
Those who have worked with Kirk have praise for the actress.
“She is the best actress that [her acting teacher] had,” Jana Grazer said.
“She came to work, she did what she was supposed to do . . . professionally, she was very good,” said Jamison M. LoCascio, director of the 2017 drama “The Depths,” in which Kirk had a co-starring role. “We never saw any signs of [her personal drama]. She never came on to anyone. She flew out [to New Jersey] to do the movie from Los Angeles and paid her own expenses. Charlotte is a nice person.”
Too bad, then, that insiders say her career will likely never recover.
“They all shot themselves in the head,” said Blaylock. “[Kirk, Marshall and Newton] will have a hard time getting hired again. I wouldn’t hire them.”