SUBMARINE | NEW YORK, NY
KILL YOUR IDOLS
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT
Every producer has at least one “movie that changed my life.” What’s yours, and why?
Hard to narrow down. The first that comes to mind is The Kid Stays in The Picture. I found Robert Evans’ story to be truly inspirational. It gave me the confidence to think that I could produce a film. And Duck Soup. At an early age, it clued me in that you don’t have to play by the rules. If you’re smart, creative or funny enough, you can make your own rules.
There are easier and more reliable ways to make a living than by financing or producing films. What draws you to film as a business opportunity?
I don’t look at filmmaking primarily as a business opportunity, because I enjoy it so much on so many other levels. If you’re driven by passion and you see an opportunity to make money doing something you believe in and enjoy, you should do it. If you’re lucky and have good instincts, you’ll end up being part of something that has a lasting meaning. As a former advertising executive, this last point is crucial.
What’s the most recent project you’ve backed?
I’m executive producing a documentary on Bill Wyman, the bassist for the Rolling Stones. The title is The Quiet One. I identify with Bill as someone who is naturally a bit of a dark horse. I am also a musician, and at a younger age I played bass in bands. So it spoke to me in many ways.
What are the essential qualities you look for in a producing partner? What flaws are you willing to overlook?
If you have loyalty, trust and an open line of communication, everything else can be overlooked or worked out. Another essential quality is being willing to overlook my flaws and focus on my strengths but still be ready to call me out on my bullshit when necessary.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken on a project? Which project(s) had the most gratifying payoff (either creatively or financially)?
I invested in the ownership of an infamous horror comic magazine called Creepy. Reviving and republishing the comic and developing it for filmed entertainment has taken far more time than expected. But it’s also led me into a journey as a comic book writer and editor, and even won me an Eisner Award, so it has already yielded unexpected dividends. A documentary I produced, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, was a difficult project to make and the prevailing wisdom was that it wouldn’t work theatrically. But we decided to take a risk and release the film under our Submarine Deluxe distribution banner. We not only had theatrical success, but a strong critical reaction. When you follow your gut and succeed, there’s no better feeling.
What’s the quickest way to make sure you will NEVER back the project I’m pitching you?
Tell me that despite the weaknesses in the script, questionable cast, or popular subject matter that I don’t really like, it’s a highly commercial property that I’m sure to make millions on. Pass.