Someone slipped the 44-page ruling in the Jeremy Piven sushi saga to the Times, and it's a must-read for the Piven completist. You'll recall (because we wouldn't let you forget) that last December the Smokin' Aces star abruptly quit the Broadway production of Speed-the-Plow, claiming that excessive seafood consumption—not excessive partying—had left him exhausted with "dangerously high" mercury levels. But we never found out exactly what unfolded during the emotional, three-day arbitration hearing in June. Until now.
We already knew the show's producers were convinced that Piven was faking illness because he couldn't handle performing eight times a week. But now we have their e-mails about the star's vicissitudes. At one point, director Neil Pepe wrote to producer Jeffrey Richards, "I think he is playing up this mono/Epstein Barr as a legitimate excuse to leave which I think is simply not true, as he has had it for the past three months and has performed the show and been out partying."
And it's no secret that Piven's a self-absorbed tool, but now we see the hacktor can't get motivated to perform unless he focuses on winning an award: Piven sent an email to Richards asking to be told when Tony Award nominators and voters were at the show because it would help "psyche himself up." Later that day, Richards wrote, "I know he’s suffering from mono/Epstein-Barr and exhaustion, so I hope that the Page 6 item about his attending Brittney [sic] Spear’s birthday party Tuesday night was merely to ‘psyche him up’ for his two perfs on Wednesday."
But ultimately producers were unable to convince the arbitrator that Piven was full of something besides mercury, and the actor was unable to get people to stop laughing at him, reportedly getting into a nasty spat with actor Chris Kattan, who dared joke about his serious, serious malady. And last month his lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to the Public Theater to end "The Piven Monologues," a comic look his mercury poisoning saga. To be honest, we're a little insulted his lawyers haven't sent us anything yet.