STX Entertainment, one of the few independent movie companies to launch in recent years, started with an unusual partnership between a blue-blood finance executive and a charismatic business ingénue from the British music scene, neither of whom had deep roots in Hollywood’s tricky landscape.
One of those partners, president Sophie Watts, suddenly exited this month amid a cloud of accusations that, according to multiple STX insiders, her CEO Robert Simonds was “obsessed” with his subordinate, attempted to control her movements and that the company failed to respond to her numerous complaints about his behavior.
It was additionally announced that Polly Hill would be executive producing for the BBC.
The house used for Howards End is Vann House, near Hambledon; dating from 1542 but remodelled by WD Caröe after 1907 with gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll.
“She’s got that fashion model thing.” Simonds, scion of a wealthy family from Arizona, had been a producer on broad comedies like Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy” and “The Water Boy,” and Steve Martin’s family movie “Cheaper by the Dozen.” (On the STX website he is billed as an “accomplished businessman.”) His closest friends at Yale, Bill Mc Glashan and now-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, were also at the intersection of finance and entertainment.