Emile Hirsch's Assault Charge May Have Cost Him a TV Role

The actor served jail time 2015 for assaulting a vp at Paramount — which produces TNT's upcoming 'The Alienist' and was close to hiring the actor until some spoke out.
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Emile Hirsch

Casting choices for the TNT series The Alienist caused turmoil at Paramount TV, sources tell THR. Emile Hirsch was close to locking down a key role in the adaptation overseen by Amy Powell, president of Paramount Television and Digital Entertainment. Hirsch was sentenced to 15 days in jail in 2015 for assaulting Paramount vp Dani Bernfeld at Tao Nightclub during Sundance. At the time, Bernfeld's boss was, yes, Powell. (Bernfeld since has exited the studio to take an executive post at Chernin Entertainment.)

The fact that Hirsch was close to being employed at Bernfeld's former home caused some to speak out against his hiring, proposing a decision that favored corporate responsibility amid a cultural shift and renewed focus on women's rights and gender equality in the wake of events such as the Women's March on Washington, sources indicated.

It's unclear why Hirsch's deal didn't close for the series, due to begin production shortly in Budapest with Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans and Dakota Fanning. Paramount had no comment.

Hirsch doesn’t appear to be hurting for work, however. His upcoming slate includes projects The Chinese Widow, The Swimmer, The Outsider and All Nighter. He opened up about the assault in an in-depth interview posted on Indiewire in December when he was making the rounds for his work in The Autopsy of Jane Doe, in which he accepted responsibility. "Ultimately, I was in the wrong. I really messed up. I'm really sorry," he said at the time.

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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