'Patti Cake$' Producer Talks Embracing Streaming Services and Trump's Effect on Film
Red-hot Brazilian producer Rodrigo Teixeira tells THR about following his heart, embracing the streamers and why Trump could be good for business.
The wall behind Rodrigo Teixeira’s desk in his Sao Paulo office is covered, floor to ceiling, in books. It makes sense that the Brazilian producer would line the place with hundreds of hardbacks and paperbacks — they’re what gave him his start in the movie business. Previously working in finance, Teixeira found his way into the industry by first acquiring the rights to books in the late ’90s, then teaming with other producers on the film adaptations.
Since founding his production banner RT Features in 2005, the 40-year-old producer has cultivated a slate featuring a mix of auteur collaborations with the likes of Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, Mistress America), Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Little Men) and Gaspar Noe (Love) and young directors who are poised to break out, including Robert Eggers (The Witch) and Geremy Jasper, whose rap coming-of-age movie Patti Cake$ was the talk of Sundance (Teixeira also produced Sundance 2017’s other breakout: Luca Guadagnino’s gay love story Call Me by Your Name).
After producing seven films last year, Teixeira and his staff of 23 aren’t slowing down anytime soon — up next he’s got James Grey’s sci-fi thriller Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt and Clouds of Sils Maria helmer Olivier Assayas’ Cuban spy thriller Wasp Network.
The married father of two, who is bringing both Patti Cake$ and Jonas Carpignano’s A Ciambra to Cannes, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about his slate, the challenges facing producers in today’s business and why he finds Amazon "amazing."
What draws you to a project?
It’s my heart and my soul. If it’s something that talks to me, that I would like to see on the big screen or on television, I start thinking about how I could be part of it. That’s the way it works.
Call Me by Your Name seemed like a film that could have been good for Cannes. Why did you decide on Sundance?
We got an invitation to Sundance and we decided to go there. We already had the deal with Sony [Pictures Classics], so we thought maybe it would work at Sundance. I think it’s a different film for that festival. Now it’s planned to be released at the end of November and we’ll see how people react, and from there maybe go into the awards season.
What frustrates you about the movie business?
I think when it comes to the movie business, we are in the middle of something, a change, and we may not realize it yet. We’re watching the rise of Amazon and Netflix, and they have a fairly different point of view when it comes to film. Maybe five years from now, we will understand what happened. I think we need to find a way to make the midbudget films. We know how to make those movies that are over $100 million and those independent films that are between $1 million and $20 million, but between $20 million and $100 million — we need to make that market be good again.
How would you feel about one of your films ending up at Netflix or some other streaming service?
I’m totally open to do that. I watch a lot of films in that space. I watch Netflix movies, I watch Amazon movies in the theaters and at home. I think the people at Amazon are amazing; they make really good choices. For example, I love Paterson. It was a small movie, but Amazon made it possible for Jim Jarmusch to shoot a film like that. It’s really moving to have a company that can provide that to Jim Jarmusch, and for me it’s important to still be seeing these movies.
Is there a project that got away — one you wish you had worked on but didn’t?
That’s a tricky one as we’re always receiving projects to consider but we can only do so many. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a property that we really tried to option, but eventually it got too big for us. We passed on It Follows, so you can imagine our reaction when the film went on to be a tremendous success. Fortunately, we had the upper hand on The Witch. We know we’ll be wrong at times. We’ll let some great opportunities pass, but most importantly we’re very confident when we embrace a project, a filmmaker’s vision.
As an international film producer, do you think Donald Trump or his policies are going to affect the film business?
I don’t think so. The only way Trump could affect the film business is that it could become more creative and artists will be pushed to make better films.