On Producers

Once upon a time, the producer was the one with the chequebook and the director was usually the producer’s brother-in-law.

If you’re a producer on a film then proficiency in table tennis is beneficial. There’s lots of free time and it disguises the panic they’re really feeling

A Director is the one whose film it is and who’s actually in charge; whose imagination, intestines, raw nerve-ends and internal fluids are splattered across every frame during every second of shooting. The producer is the one with the American Express card …and time to spend with the publicity department.

For most directors, making a film is a monogamous affair, that lasts for a couple of years. It’s impossible to be involved on anything else. In the same time, a producer can be involved in half a dozen movies — like a Salt lake City polygamist. If one doesn’t work, then they rapidly move on to the next.

Successful producers are very good at burying their dead. If a movie looks like it’s going to tank you won’t see a producer’s heels for dust, as they scurry onto the next project. However, the director is there until the bitter end: suffering every interview, insult and critical abuse. Directors die with their failures. Producers attend the funeral.

Producers are like a lottery winner in a whorehouse. They screw who they like and then move on to the next. As long as they’re paying, no one complains.

Often there are so many people on a film with the title ‘producer’. On The Commitments I had eight. Eight producers who are 88% nice, congenial, helpful and pleasant and 12% irritating, adds up to one producer who is a complete asshole.

So many of my colleagues have written about our early careers: the dubious, unreliable self-serving memories of old men.”
Better put: A well written life is better than a well spent one.” Thomas Carlyle.

Most producers are an equal mix of braggadocio and Pinocchio.

I know a producer, a good friend of mine, who is responsible for more porky pies than Sainsburys.

Andy Vajna, the Evita producer, had a fascinating background. In 1956, aged 12, he had fled the Hungarian Uprising — sent away to stay with his Aunt who was a cook in LA. It’s a great image — a chubby Hungarian kid running away from the Soviet tanks, cutting a hole in the fence and finding himself in Beverly Hills.