Princess Bride director Rob Reiner is joining in the long line of opposition against president-elect Donald Trump hiring Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. The political rise of the former Breitbart News executive is even more unnerving to Reiner considering their shared connection with Seinfeld.
In a strange piece of trivia, part of the Bannon’s fortune comes from royalties made off the Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld-created sitcom, which was produced by Castle Rock Entertainment, a company Reiner co-founded.
“That’s a weird one,” said Reiner, while speaking at a Monday screening of his upcoming film LBJ, according to The Daily Beast. “I never met Bannon so I had no idea what his involvement was, and I had to call Greg Paul, who was our head of business affairs, and he said he doesn’t remember meeting him either. [Fellow co-founder] Martin Shafer said he remembers meeting him once.”
Bannon’s tangential involvement with Seinfeld began in the early ‘90s when Castle Rock was being sold to CNN founder Ted Turner. A few years earlier, Westinghouse Electric had purchased equity in the company. In the process of the sale with Turner, they consulted with Bannon & Co.
“Part of the deal was that Westinghouse could either sell or hold on to whatever TV series we had,” Reiner shared. “At the time we had eight pilots, and one of them was Seinfeld. We didn’t know if it was going to be successful or not. But as payment, Bannon advised them to stay in and hold on to their profit participation in the series, and Westinghouse said, ‘Well, if you think it’s so good, why don’t you take a piece of this instead of us giving you a fee?’ And apparently that’s what Bannon did, and he wound up with a small piece of Seinfeld that he’s had forever.”
The move to invest in the potential future success of Seinfeld wasn’t a slam-dunk at the time of the deal. Only in season 4, the NBC comedy was still years away from syndication and hadn’t yet turned into the critical and commercial smash that it would end up becoming.
“It’s crazy,” reflected Reiner. “When I first heard about it, it made me sick. It makes me sick. Because I had no idea. I didn’t know who he was, or that he was representing Westinghouse. So there you have it. I think The Huffington Post had the headline right: ‘Trump Hires a White Supremacist.'”