The Producer Roundtable
How to say no to Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen, when to spend your own money and what to do when the studio pulls the plug: Seven behind-the-scenes players explain how movies really get made.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Kathleen Kennedy cited Steve Jobs as a hero of hers during The Hollywood Reporter's annual Producers Roundtable. After all, the late Apple chief was heralded as a visionary for marrying artistic vision with savvy business practices -- the exact balancing act mastered by movie producers at the top of their game. Consider the creative and financial achievements of the group THR invited: Letty Aronson, 67, serves as her brother Woody Allen's trusted right-hand woman for all his films, including the time-travel dramedy Midnight in Paris, which became Allen's biggest box-office hit ever. Tim Bevan, 52, pulls double duty as co-chairman of the prolific Working Title Films and as an active producer, including on the spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Jim Burke, 57, managed shooting The Descendants in interesting Hawaii locations on a tight $12 million budget. Chris Columbus, 53, also known for his active directing career (including the first two Harry Potter films), spent months in Mississippi working on the logistics that led to the surprise blockbuster The Help. Michael De Luca, 46, the New Line executive turned producer, helped revive Moneyball after the studio fired its original director. Kennedy, 58, shepherded two very different Steven Spielberg projects, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, often working on both at the same time. And Bill Pohlad, 56, the Minnesota-based producer-financier, put his own money into Terrence Malick's ultra-arty The Tree of Life and was rewarded with $54 million in worldwide gross. Together, the group, who gathered for an hourlong discussion Nov. 13 at The Writers Room in Hollywood, represents the best of the year in filmmaking.
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