Carlos Ghosn flirted with Hollywood, then took a plot twist

TOKYO: Carlos Ghosn , the fallen boss of the Nissan-Renault car alliance, didn't know much about making movies, but seemed willing to learn. Sitting at his rented house in a rich Tokyo neighborhood, one day in December, he walked with John Lesher, a Hollywood producer behind the 2014 Oscar winner Michael Keaton The film, Birdman, through the plot of his own story, which describes what he sees as his unfair imprisonment by Japanese officials and his struggle to prove his innocence, said people familiar with the discussions.

The theme was redemption. The villain was the Japanese justice system. The talks were preliminary and did not go far, people said. And in any case, Ghosn was preparing to take a shocking plot twist.

Ghosn, who would face a trial later in 2020, fled Japan for Lebanon this week, avoiding criminal charges of financial wrongdoing. All the elements of a Hollywood -style thriller are there: a private plane throwing a fugitive into the sky, several passports, rumors of gloomy forces at work and people in power denying they knew anything about it.

Ghosn's conversations with Lesher could offer a glimpse into his thinking in the days before his escape from a country that had kept him under surveillance for months. It is not clear exactly when Ghosn started planning his escape. But his meeting with Lesher was one of several he had during his last months in Tokyo while contemplating the end of the history of his fight against the Japanese justice system.