Producing is one of the more difficult jobs to define in Hollywood. While writers write, directors direct, and actors act, it’s difficult to boil producing down to just one job. Maybe it’s because being a producer is a job that is creative, logistical, and everything in between.
Producers are the ones who are responsible for making sure the film actually gets made. Or, as Nate Moore, the producer of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, puts it, “You’re trying to get the best out of a group of people.”
In the video below, Gail Berman (Elvis), Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun: Maverick), Jonathan Wang (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Kristie Macosko Krieger (The Fabelmans), Nate Moore (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), and Viola Davis (The Woman King) sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for their 2023 Producers Roundtable.
There are plenty of war stories and advice in this conversation, in which the topics ranged from what these producers look for in a collaborator to what made them want to be filmmakers in the first place. Here is what we learned from this year's producers.
What We Learned From These Producers
If it wasn’t obvious already, the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that producers are the force that holds the production together.
What stands out among these producers is that they all had to deal with the obstacles that the COVID-19 pandemic created in one form or another. These were some of the first producers who had to make tough decisions for their productions and brave an unknown post-COVID-19 movie-going era. It’s no surprise then that when asked about their scariest moments from their respective productions, COVID-19 was a major topic.
Gail Berman recalled the moment she heard that Tom Hanks and his wife Rita had come down with COVID-19 a few days before principal photography was set to begin on Elvis. At the time, no one knew what that meant or if they were going to be alright.
On The Woman King, Viola Davis had to decide to shut down production for a month when more than 200 members of the cast and crew rapidly came down with the Omicron variant. As Davis explains, “There was no precedent for anything before we did The Woman King.” She wasn’t sure that the film’s production would be able to start back up at all after it had been so difficult to initially get it off the ground.
While Top Gun: Maverickwas shot before the pandemic, Jerry Bruckheimer still said that the scariest moment for him was — and always is — when the movie opens, because you never know until that point if the audience is going to like it. With COVID-19, they weren’t even sure that people would come out to see the film. Of course, we all know that $1,489 million success story (according to Box Office Mojo).
Gail Berman ('Elvis'), Jerry Bruckheimer ('Top Gun: Maverick'), Viola Davis ('The Woman King'), Jonathan Wang ('Everything Everywhere All At Once'), Kristie Macosko Krieger ('The Fabelmans'), and Nate Moore ('Black Panther: Wakanda Forever')Credit: The Hollywood ReporterJonathan Wang shared that he heard from audience members who would tell him Everything Everywhere All At Once fixed their marriage.
“I think we all left this COVID-19 period with this collective trauma, and then we get to go see The Woman King, we get to go see our movie, and we get to go see all of our films and just have this emotional catharsis,” said Wang
All of these producers overcame massive obstacles that none of them could have seen coming to create some of the year’s biggest and best films. That, more than anything, speaks to what a good producer can do.
What were your favorite moments from the discussion? Let us know in the comments.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter