Lowell Bergman, a producer with 60 Minutes from 1983 through 1997, told Lang that prior to the making of Michael Mann‘s 1999 drama The Insider, he arranged for Wallace to meet with the director at the Beverly Regent Wilshire hotel. Why? Because Mann at the time hoped to convince Wallace to play himself in the film (the correspondent was, of course, famously channeled in the end by Christopher Plummer). From Lang’s piece:
The movie depicted Wallace caving to CBS’ corporate leadership after the network refused to air the Jeffrey Wigand interview over concerns about a potential lawsuit from tobacco company Brown & Williamson. Wallace claimed that he never agreed that the story should be killed.
Bergman says that he never put up much of a fight and claims that Wallace was upset that the film chronicles his refusal to push harder to get the segment aired. “Before he left [the Beverly Wilshire] he said, ‘you’ll take care of me,’” Bergman said. “What he meant was I wouldn’t tell the truth.”
It’s too bad Wallace chose not to hang around the hotel, post-Bergman’s dinner with Mann. And rather staggering that he sidestepped the opportunity to play himself in a big Hollywood movie.
[Photo of Mann: s_bukley/Shutterstock.com]