Next Gen 2013: Hollywood's New Class
As A-list writer Steven Zaillian's partner in Film Rites, Basch has a hand in all of the busy production company's film and TV projects.
He set up The Current War at The Weinstein Co. in an aggressive progress-to-production deal (Ben Stiller is circling to direct). Film Rites recently wrapped production on the Roger Ebert documentary that Basch is producing with Zaillian and Martin Scorsese. Other films the Los Angeles native set up in the past two years include the CIA thriller Red Sparrow at Fox in a bidding war (Darren Aronofsky is attached to direct), a remake of The Day Britain Stopped at Fox (Ridley Scott is onboard to helm), The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble at Fox Searchlight and the dystopian sci-fi pic Wool at Fox (also in a bidding war).
Basch also produced the sci-fi indie Open Windows, starring Elijah Wood and directed by Spanish helmer Nacho Vigalondo (whom Basch also manages). On the TV front, he doggedly worked to bring HBO's seven-part miniseries Criminal Justice to the screen. (Robert De Niro recently stepped in to fill the role the late James Gandolfini was to play.)
FIRST JOB: As a freshman at Tulane, I reached out to the small handful of alumni working in the industry -- one of whom, Jason Goldberg, had just started a company with Ashton Kutcher and was hiring interns for the summer. My father had a home electronics business, so in response to Jason's boilerplate interview question of what I had to offer, I offered him a plasma TV at cost. Two plasmas later, he hooked me up with PA gigs on both MTV's Punk'd and the Sony movie Guess Who.
BIG BREAK: While I was still in college in New Orleans, I was a location scout on a film Steve Zaillian was directing. He was having a hard time finding an assistant, but after taking him and the crew on a tour, I made him laugh a few times, and he ended up hiring me. I later learned I was hired only because I was the "least strange" of the candidates.
CAREER MILESTONE A partner from WME recently called to say she put a hex upon me and my family. I must have done something right.
IF I WEREN'T IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY: I'd be fitter and healthier.
BOOK ON MY NIGHTSTAND: Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death