Hollywood producer confirms past as Israeli spy, arms dealer
“Do you know what it’s like to be a 20-something-year-old kid [and] his country lets him be James Bond? Wow!” producer Arnon Milchan said
The Hollywood producer behind such box office hits as Fight Club, Pretty Woman and LA Confidential has spoken about his former activities as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer, confirming claims made earlier in an unauthorized biography.
Arnon Milchan gave a lengthy interview to the Israeli documentary program Uvda, broadcast on Monday.
According to Milchan, he was recruited to the Bureau of Scientific Relations – known by its Hebrew acronym, Lakam – by Shimon Peres in the 1960s.
The body worked to obtain technical and scientific information for secret defense programs, according to the Guardian. It was closed in 1987.
Peres, who has been Israel’s president since 2007, admitted recruiting Milchan as an agent.
“Arnon is a special man. It was I who recruited him … when I was at the ministry of defense, Arnon was involved in numerous defense-related procurement activities and intelligence operations,” he said, according to the Guardian.
Milchan, 68, is now the chairman of New Regency Productions, which has produced more than 120 Hollywood movies since the 1970s.
However, Milchan said it was a challenge to overcome his reputation as an arms dealer. “In Hollywood, they don’t like working with an arms dealer, ideologically … with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing. Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I’m not an arms dealer. If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country.”
During the program Milchan said: “Do you know what it’s like to be a 20-something-year-old kid [and] his country lets him be James Bond? Wow! The action! That was exciting.”
According to the investigative journalist who made the program, Ilana Dayan, Milchan has no reservations about his role as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer.
“He made up his mind that he wanted to speak out about he did for the state of Israel – even if he pays a cost in Hollywood, he wants recognition here in Israel,” she told the Guardian.