The latest in the excellent FilmCraft series of books concentrating on different aspects of the filmmaking process is Producing (released January 2013). The Introduction states the job of the producer is multifaceted and “requires the wearing of many hats.” The producer is “the ringmaster who keeps the circus going.”
Authors Geoffrey Macnab and Sharon Swart, explore the many aspects of the ringmasters with interviews with acclaimed producers from the USA, UK, Australia, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Hong Kong including Tim Bevan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary), Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, Sexy Beast), Jan Chapman (The Piano, Lantana), Jon Kilik (The Hunger Games, Babel), and Peter Aalbæk Jensen (Melancholia, Breaking the Waves).
Jon Landau has produced the two highest grossing films to date in Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009), both directed by James Cameron. Landau admits, “The role of a producer is to be both the Devil on the shoulder and the Angel on the shoulder.” Landau followed the path of his parents Ely and Edie Landau who produced independent films, making his debut producing the unremarkable Campus Man (1987). Success followed with The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). ”Your business plan is the script,” declares Landau.
Lauren Shuler Donner is a leading producer who has prospered in a profession where females are in the minority. Her box-office hits date back to Mr. Mom (1963), St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) and Pretty In Pink (1986). Her current work builds on her producer credits for the X-Men franchise with The Wolverine (2012) starring Hugh Jackman. Shuler realizes success depends on anticipating the future. “You have to feel the temperature of the country and understand where the next trend will be.”
The Legacy section includes profiles of acclaimed producers of the past – David O. Selznick, Michael Balcon, Dino De Laurentiis, Erich Pommer and Alexander Korda.
The FilmCraft series from Focal Press continues to impress with its knowledgeable text, insightful interviews and well designed layouts complete with rare behind-the-scenes color photographs. This is an excellent addition to the series.
Review copyright Paul Green 2013. All rights reserved.