Every producer has at least one "movie that changed my life.” What
John Sayles’s City of
Hope. It was the first project
that involved my transition from "more passive” lawyering to actually
committing to assemble financing, and it was my first executive producer
credit. It started me on a path.
Likewise, I’m Not There and Boyhood, my first full producer
credits. Both involved long-time collaborators (Christine Vachon and
Richard Linklater, respectively). I’m Not There took
years of daily activity to assemble financing, and Boyhood was simply a
By all means, there are easier ways to make a living than by financing
films. What draws you to film as a business opportunity?
As I fondly say to the 50-some people who work at our companies,
each one of you, including myself, could make more money doing something else.
In a word, it’s the passion that draws me, a love of storytelling and respect
for great storytellers.
it been like to transition from lawyer, to financier, to producer?
Being a lawyer is more of a volume business. You jump from project
to project. But as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more rewarding to be deeply
immersed in what I’m working on. It’s nice not to feel like I’m spread so thin.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken on a project?
I was told I was crazy for committing to put together I’m Not There. Six
different actors playing different incarnations of Bob Dylan? And at the budget
we were seeking? Let’s just say there were many skeptics. And Boyhood broke every rule about
how you were supposed to put together and shoot a film.
What’s the quickest way to make sure you will NEVER back the script I’m
For me, the most reliable genre is "the new.” Characterizing a
project as reminescient of a certain film or group of films ("It’s like X meets
Y!”) is a formula for being derivative.
What are the essential qualities you look for in a producing
Someone who both complements my strengths AND values quality craft