THR's Producer Roundtable: 'Django Unchained' Filmmaker Reveals Production Nightmare (Video)

In some ways, being a producer is being a problem solver. And there are plenty of problems to solve when it comes to making the biggest films of the year.

Some of the industry’s top producers shared their nightmare scenarios during The Hollywood Reporter’s producer roundtable.

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Stacey Sher said while shooting Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained in Mammoth Lakes, the ski resort saw no snow in January for the first time in a century. They had to move to a location that would have snow.

“We had to pick up our set that we built in Mammoth and move it to the Grand Tetons and figure out how to get into all the places we needed to on very short notice to not stop filming,” Sher said.

Hearing the story, Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook) recalled a common joke among producers.

“Any location you go to, they're always saying: ‘It's never rained this much before in this month. Last year, the weather was exactly what you wanted.’"

The group of producers hedged when asked for examples of specific mistakes they’d made and the lessons they’d learned from them. But Eric Fellner (Les Miserables), said without getting into specifics, he had learned the perils of spending too much on a film.

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“You still love the movie. The movie turns out great, but it just doesn’t do the business you were hoping for. You realize actually if you really drill down into it you could have taken five, 10, 20 percent off of [the budget] and the result would have been different,” Fellner said. “You learn a lot the hard way, that way.”

In addition to the producers already mentioned, the round table discussion featured Philippa Boyens (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Grant Heslov (Argo) and JoAnne Sellar (The Master). The conversation was moderated by THR news director Matthew Belloni and executive features editor Stephen Galloway.

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