‘Walter Mitty’ Producer John Goldwyn Feels the Pressure

December 24th, 2013

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — John Goldwyn’s grandfather was the G in MGM. His father, a producer, gave Julia Roberts her big crack in “Mystic Pizza.” His brother, an actor, is currently actively playing the president on ABC’s “Scandal.”

As royal Hollywood people go, the Goldwyns are the real deal.

But success in the motion picture business is no cinch, even for a prince. John Goldwyn commenced as a mail room attendant, climbed all the way to vice chairman at Paramount Photographs, exactly where he aided provide Oscar winners like “Forrest Gump,” and then — kerplunk. In 2003, with the hits drying up and his private life in turmoil, he stepped down to turn into a producer on the Paramount great deal. He has since unsuccessful to produce a breakout film, with attempts like “Hot Rod” and “The Guilt Trip” fizzling poorly.

Now arrives a opportunity to change a chilly motion picture hand very hot. “The Key Existence of Walter Mitty,” directed by and starring Ben Stiller and produced by Mr. Goldwyn, comes in theaters on Wednesday from twentieth Century Fox.

Possessing skilled his share of triumph and failure, Mr. Goldwyn, fifty five, is blunt about the film organization and the lifestyle of hit-creating that still defines it. “The bottom line is that Ben created a great movie,” he explained in excess of espresso this month at the Sunset Tower Hotel below. “But I do really feel an incredible, crushing pressure for it to realize success.”

For Mr. Goldwyn, “Mitty,” adapted from the 1939 James Thurber short story, is a lot more than a $ ninety million jump-start. To a degree, the movie arrives with tremendous dynastic stress.

Mr. Goldwyn’s grandfather Samuel found a strike in 1947 by adapting Thurber’s tale for the display. Mr. Goldwyn’s father, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., tried for a long time to remake it, ultimately turning over stewardship to his son. In a Hollywood in which third-generation Warners or Disneys are number of, “Mitty” is Mr. Goldwyn’s likelihood to present that his lineage endures.

Regardless of whether “Mitty” will strike spend filth is still anyone’s guess. While place of work analysts are predicting reliable ticket sales, reviews have been mixed and theaters are crowded with huge releases. But Samuel Goldwyn Jr., 87, explained that concentrating on only earnings would be lacking the stage. “This game is not performed for one particular shot,” he stated by phone. “It’s played for survival, and what is essential is that Johnny never ever gave up. I’m exceptionally very pleased of him.”

In excess of the training course of an interview, John Goldwyn, frequently returned to the subject of conquering obstructions, beginning with his previous title.

“It’s each an asset and a legal responsibility, but primarily you have to determine out how to negotiate close to it,” he stated. “My father, who had grown up as a Hollywood prince, comprehended the traps and assisted me understand. You can’t trade on it simply because people will resent it and then they will destroy you for it.”

As an alternative of getting help from his father, Mr. Goldwyn took a mail room job after graduating from Stanford with a degree in background. He also worked as a chauffeur for the producer Alan Ladd Jr., who gave Mr. Goldwyn his crack in 1983 — a generation gig on “Police Academy,” which turned an unlikely hit and spawned six sequels.

“There was never everything about John that was entitled,” stated Sherry Lansing, an ex-main govt of Paramount. “If anything, it produced him function harder.”

Mr. Goldwyn — handsome, mental, a bit bashful — has also had to transfer previous turbulence in his private lifestyle. He is now married to Jeff Klein, who owns the Sunset Tower. But in 2001 he was nonetheless closeted and married to the character actress Colleen Camp, with whom he has a developed daughter, Emily.

“Contrary to common belief, Colleen was in on the key really early on,” Mr. Goldwyn stated. “But at some point you have to be brutally honest. If you attempt to preserve a mystery like that, an individual else will locate it and they will use it to ruin you.”

As Mr. Goldwyn transitioned to creating, a pivotal ally was Lorne Michaels, the “Saturday Evening Live” creator who grew to become Mr. Goldwyn’s business spouse with each other they sent screwball comedies like “Hot Rod” and “MacGruber.”

Mr. Goldwyn stated he quickly discovered that disappointment as a producer is considerably distinct from disappointment as a studio executive.

“When you have a undesirable motion picture and you are within the administration ` there is often one more motion picture coming down the conveyor belt,” he stated. “So we never dwelled on a miss out on or two. But when you are a producer, you use each failure for lifestyle.”

“Sherry once told me, ‘There is no this kind of point as everlasting luck in Hollywood,’ ” he added. “But in some methods all I understood was luck. I lastly comprehended what she meant when I became a producer because I fundamentally unsuccessful, undoubtedly by the expectations by which good results is judged in Hollywood.”

Some of Mr. Goldwyn’s making endeavors have been successful. “Baby Mama,” yet another collaboration with Mr. Michaels, turned a modest income. In 2007 he worked on “I’m Not There,” a Bob Dylan biopic that grew to become a critical darling. With Sara Colleton, Mr. Goldwyn developed the hit serial-killer drama “Dexter,” which not too long ago concluded its eighth year on Showtime.

“John is a extremely civilized male, which offers him a large leg up,” stated Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Leisure and a former Showtime president. “The enemy to obtaining issues completed properly is likely into a corner and locking horns with the community. John does not do that. He is a great moderator.”

Mr. Stiller said he skilled that facet of Mr. Goldwyn on “Mitty.”

“I relied on him to assist assuage the studio’s fears and worries,” stated Mr. Stiller, who also has a creating credit score on the film. “There were instances when we would submit a spending budget for some thing and the studio would freak out and he would describe — calmly, constantly with this excellent tranquil vibe — why we necessary the money.”

(Mr. Goldwyn, with a feeling of Hollywood’s realpolitik, place it this way: “As an artist, Ben pushes boundaries. If the studio draws a line in the sand, he says: ‘Oh, genuinely? View how I erase that.’ I would speak to him about the even bigger image. Confident, you can get this funds now. But down the line we are going to need to have this, this and this. We require to maintain some asks.”) With “Mitty” driving him, Mr. Goldwyn must now evolve as soon as much more. A 10 years back, studios stored extensive stables of producers on their heaps, but now numerous of them are possessing to fend for them selves. Mr. Goldwyn is no exception. His generating offer with Paramount is ending.

Mr. Goldwyn is increasing to the obstacle by using on a fleet of initiatives, like a substantial-profile adaptation of the British criminal offense drama “Broadchurch” for Fox and the movie “Loomis Fargo,” which stars Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis.

And then there is a prospective remake of “Guys and Dolls” for Fox. A Goldwyn developed the previous one. If Fox has its way, a Goldwyn will also create the up coming one particular.

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