- 1. Career
Carl Erik Rinsch is a film director. He directed the 2013 film 47 Ronin. Netflix put him in charge of producing a 12-episode series called Conquest for the platform in 2018–2021, eventually funding the work with $55 million and the expectation of even more budget had the project proceeded, but the deal fell apart after check-in deadlines were missed and no episodes were ever produced.
Rinsch's short film The Gift received a positive response, winning awards at the 2010 Cannes Lions international advertising festival. The acclaim from this led to him being the planned director for first a prequel to Alien, and then a remake of Logan's Run, although both projects would move on to other hands. Rinsch did other work in producing advertisements.
Rinsch made his feature film directing debut in 2013 with 47 Ronin, a fantasy adaptation of the Japanese historical epic of the Forty-seven Ronin. It starred Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rinko Kikuchi. The film had a production budget of $175 million. It was received poorly both critically and commercially.
After 47 Ronin, Rinsch went back to producing commercials. He and his wife Gabriela Rosés had a passion project for their next work: a proposed science-fiction series about artificial humans called "Organic Intelligent" or "O.I."s. The OIs would travel the globe to hot-spots seemingly helping out humanity, but with conspiracies in the background that would create conflict and an apocalyptic showdown. Working with 30West, the pair started with creating six short (4-10 minutes) episodes; while they ran out money in the middle, Keanu Reeves stepped in as a co-producer and fronted enough money to finish the set. Rinsch and Rosés then tried to find interest in making a full series out of the initial work. During the streaming boom of 2015–2019, there was an intense race for content, and both Amazon Prime Video and Netflix expressed interest in picking up the property. Netflix won, agreeing to fund the project for $61.2 million over installments, and renamed the show to Conquest.
According to a 2023 investigation by journalist John Carreyrou, the project was troubled, and Rinsch's behavior became erratic. A film union in Brazil complained about Rinsch's behavior on set, with him allegedly yelling at and mistreating the crew. He also began taking Lisdexamfetamine, a prescription drug and amphetamine, but one which if overused can cause mania, delirium, and psychosis. Rinsch accused his wife of plotting to assassinate him and allegedly threw things at her at times. The situation worsened to the degree where an "intervention" was held by Rinsch's brother, his wife, and the crew of Conquest urging him to go into rehab. As the project was running low on cash, Rinsch urged Netflix to send him more money, despite not making the production deadlines for the first phase. Netflix forwarded his production company another $11 million, but he used it to gamble on the stock market instead, losing around $6 million in weeks. Rinsch sent strange emails to his Netflix contact, saying that he had a way to map "the coronavirus signal emanating from within the earth." His wife filed for divorce; according to his wife's lawyers, Rinsch told her that airplanes were "organic, intelligent forces" and that he sent texts to her saying he had the power to predict lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions. Netflix eventually cut off production of Conquest, with no finished episodes submitted. Rinsch has insisted that he is "of sound mind and body", and made an Instagram post in 2023 where he said that he has not lost his mind.
Despite the setbacks with Conquest and his stock market bets, Rinsch recovered somewhat financially. He used the money remaining that Netflix had sent his production company to make a huge investment in the cryptocurrency Dogecoin in 2020, which he cashed out in May 2021; he made $23 million from the bet. He used it to buy five Rolls-Royces, a Ferrari, and large amounts of fancy furniture and designer clothing.