The first screening of Inside Llewyn Davis quietly took place last Saturday night in a screening room on the Sony lot. That’s the new film by …
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
With a list of collaborators that includes some of the most sought-after writers and producers in the business, Scott Rudin is no stranger to awards season. He’s earned best picture nominations for the last two years running, for 2010′s The Social Network and True Grit and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close last year. He won his only Oscar in 2008 for No Country For Old Men — a year in which his other film, There Will Be Blood, also earned a nom for picture — and this year he earned the career distinction of having received all four major entertainment statuettes when he added a Grammy for The Book Of Mormon musical cast recording. In 2012, Rudin also saw the release of his fifth feature film with director Wes Anderson, the box office hit Moonrise Kingdom. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has gone on to win a Gotham Award for best film and earn five Independent Spirit Award nominations. Their creatively and financially lucrative partnership continues for Anderson’s 2014 followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which reunites much of the same cast and crew from Moonrise, including star Bill Murray and financier Steven M. Rales of Indian Paintbrush. The very busy producer recently spoke with AwardsLine about the film’s success.
AwardsLine: You always have a fairly heavy workload for a producer. How do you maintain the quality and still give everything the attention it needs?
Scott Rudin: I have no idea other than there’s no alternative. Honestly.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Memphis, Paul Greengrass‘ film about the final days of Dr. Martin Luther King, is coming back around. Now, I hear that steps are underway to make Memphis Greengrass’ next directorial outing. I’ve heard that Veritas is in talks to finance with Wild Bunch. You might recall the picture was shelved after Universal Pictures dropped out, and Greengrass and producer Scott Rudin shelved it because it became too difficult to set up new financing and shoot the film so that it could be released during the MLK weekend holiday. Greengrass and Rudin moved on to make Captain Phillips, the Sony drama about the Somali pirate heist that stars Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips.
The script depicts Dr. King’s final days as he struggled to organize a protest march on behalf of striking black municipal sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was slain. That storyline is juxtaposed with an intense manhunt for King’s assassin James Earl Ray, involving some of the federal authorities who, at Hoover’s direction, had dogged King’s every step with wiretaps and whispering campaigns before the civil rights leader’s death.
EXCLUSIVE: Barry Diller and Scott Rudin are in exploratory talks to launch an e-book business for both fiction and non-fiction. I’m told they have had a lot of exploratory conversations and I expect an announcement of a venture launch shortly with major investment capital. The ramifications will be …
Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman added to Mike Nichols and Scott Rudin‘s previous Tony hauls, taking nods for best direction of a play for Nichols and best revival of a play for Rudin. Nichols and Rudin, who most recently won for last year’s best musical The Book of Mormon, now have won nine Tonys each. For his movie work Nichols was nominated five times for Oscars, winning best director for 1967′s The Graduate. Rudin has also been nominated for five Oscars, winning Best Picture for 2007′s No Country For Old Men. Once, a musical based on a 2006 Irish movie, took the award for best musical plus seven others out of 11 nominations. Newsies, based on the 1992 Disney movie musical of the same name, won awards for choreography and best original score written for the theatre.
Complete list of winners follows:
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin have snapped up remake rights to Brooklyn Castle, the documentary that premiered at SXSW yesterday. The film, which got a rousing response after its Sunday bow, is about …
EXCLUSIVE: Hot producing duo Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy of Parts & Labor have entered an output and development deal with sales, finance and production company K5 Media. The Brooklyn-based pair most recently produced Mike Mills’ Beginners for which star Christopher Plummer has been scooping up awards this season. The first 2 films covered under the K5 pact are Adam Rapp’s Red Light Winter starring Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo and Gregg Araki’s The Womb. Knudsen and Van Hoy will produce Red Light Winter with Scott Rudin who has been the duo’s mentor for the past decade. Knudsen and Van Hoy met in 2000 while working for Rudin and in 2004 established Parts & Labor. In 2008, they entered a 3-year, first-look deal with Rudin’s company. “Jay and Lars have clearly learned from one of the best in being mentored by Scott Rudin and they are at the forefront of the new wave of important indie producers,” says K5’s Oliver Simon. The K5 pact covers all current projects being developed by Knudsen and Van Hoy whose credits also include Braden King’s Here, Cam Archer’s Shit Year, So Yong Kim’s Treeless Mountain and Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy. Deal was negotiated on behalf of Parts & Labor by André des Rochers, of Gray, Krauss des Rochers and K5 co-founders Simon and Daniel Baur.
OSCARS: Producer Scott Rudin Talks Critics Awards, Salander, His ‘Jeopardy’ Discovery And Why A Non-Baseball Fan Relates To ‘Moneyball’
EXCLUSIVE: We are in the thick of the awards season, a time of year when at least one film produced by Scott Rudin is usually in the conversation. Last year, he was producer of two Best Picture nominees, The Social Network and True Grit. This year, he’s got three in the mix. There’s Moneyball, the 9/11-themed Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. All this happened in a year when Rudin closed his Hollywood office and formally moved his producing deal to Sony Pictures (where he produced The Social Network and joined producers Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt in reconfiguring Moneyball). None of that impeded his output and when Rudin took time out for Deadline and what will likely be his only Oscar season Q&A, he pulled himself away from new films he’s making with the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. That is a lot of activity for any producer — and Rudin separately generates as many Broadway shows as he does films — but it’s a pace the New York-based producer is comfortable handling.
AWARDSLINE: Much was written about The New Yorker reviewer David Denby breaking an embargo that New York film critic voters agreed to abide by when they saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the purposes of voting for their annual awards. Now, he wrote a positive review…
RUDIN: That wasn’t the issue.
AWARDSLINE: Why did it trouble you so much?
RUDIN: Because you want reviews timed to the release of the movie when they can sell tickets. Having reviews break earlier…I mean, our campaign is calibrated very carefully around closing the campaign with the release of the film. You want reviews to cume the week the movie’s opening and not a month before when they do you absolutely no good. What also concerned me was if he broke the embargo there was a decent chance other people would. It turned out that other people felt such scorn for him that nobody else did, which was kind of remarkable.
AWARDSLINE: Was it more about giving your word and not keeping it?
RUDIN: Keep your word or don’t come to the movie. It’s totally fine to say I’m not going to honor a review embargo, but you have to give me and the studio the right to say, don’t come see it. You don’t put in writing a commitment not to review until a certain date and then review it anyway because you don’t want to write about other movies that you don’t think are serious enough for you. It’s incredibly disingenuous.
AWARDSLINE: All this happened because the New York film critics moved up their deadline two weeks to be first. How valid are these lists when a late entry like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close aren’t even considered?
RUDIN: I can only answer in relation to my stuff. I mean, in the case of the New York critics, they set a deadline that was literally a day ahead of when we would be able to screen Dragon Tattoo. We were perfectly fine not screening for them, but they came to us and said they wanted to move the date by a day to include us. Because we had won it last year on Social Network, we felt we kind of owed it to them. It seemed churlish not to let them see the movie if they moved the date. We didn’t ask them to move the date; they came to us. And then I got a bunch of nasty emails from John Anderson saying, why didn’t you ask us to move the date on Extremely Loud? The whole thing seemed so ridiculous. They were all trying to get ahead of each other. Honestly, I don’t think it has hurt Extremely Loud one iota not to have been seen by the couple of groups that didn’t see it. In the end, it’s all opinion anyway. It’s great when you win those things but not great enough that you wouldn’t finish a movie well. Those critics awards come and go every year, but the finished movie is your work. I would love to have finished Extremely Loud two weeks earlier and screened it for everybody. It just wasn’t done. And the same was true with Dragon Tattoo. These were big ambitious movies that were on very very tight finishing schedules and we just couldn’t do it.
AWARDSLINE: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo deal seemed to take forever. It was obviously complicated by the fact that Stieg Larsson had passed away. What was the biggest challenge for you in pulling the rights together on the series?
RUDIN: The big issue on it was that the book was still growing in popularity, so it was hard to figure out, honestly, what a fair deal was. We’d start to make it a deal, you’d turn around and the book has sold 5 million more copies and suddenly it’s worth more. It just took a long time.
AWARDSLINE: How long?
RUDIN: Almost a year and a half. When we started to negotiate we didn’t know there were Swedish movies. Nobody told us, I had no idea. Honestly, we started out buying movie rights and it turned out we were buying remake rights. We got way down the road before anybody said, “Oh, by the way, these were made.”
AWARDSLINE: Did that make you think twice?
RUDIN: No. I think the first one especially was good and entertaining. But Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and I felt like Lisbeth is such an astonishing character, she could go as long as you wanted her to go. So, making it a big superstar director version of it always felt like a great idea and that a Swedish language version wasn’t going to hurt it all. In fact, would probably help it.