After fifty years in Hollywood producing some of the most popular movies of all time, Irwin Winkler says the question he still gets asked the most is, What does a producer do? To get the answer, Irwin tells Marc about his days running the bumper cars on Coney Island, his job as a self-described mediocre agent, and his success making movies as the studio system broke down, including culture-changing hits like Rocky, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. Plus, Irwin explains why he’s had such a great collaborative relationship with Martin Scorsese and provides some details about Marty’s upcoming movie, The Irishman. This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Capterra.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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all right. Let's do this at the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck stirs, what the fuck Adele it's, what the FUCK aholics, what the FUCK Publicans, what the fuck? Oh Kratts, how's it going what's happening. I am my podcast wtf. I didn't forget who I was. I'm just started a lot going on right now today on the show, Irwin Winkler Winkler, a film producer like an amazing film producer, and when I got the opportunity to talk to him, I was like, of course, and he's got this book coming out. I will be out you can put order it. It's a life in movie stories from fifty years in Hollywood comes out in May seventh, but he basically goes from movie to movie that he's been involved with and there's some great movies and it's a very readable book. I'm not re he's selling the book, but I it's one of these situations where I did read it in order to talk to him
you know the movies this guy did from the very beginning I mean he's, been added uh sometime, but he did. What would you know they should have just don't they early on? He did that point, but check with Lee Marvin and the Alcatra. It's a good movie, yeah wing. Where did that? He did rocky he's done most. Done. A lot of the the Scorsese films raging bowl. He produced he produced around midnight, which I didn't get to Is it we're just we're bouncing around at about an hour and fifteen minutes? I did. I did some as Bronson Movies break out what the stuff that they gambler with James Con, the original one to back movie great movie, but just so true confessions. You know that is a movie that that is great people don't really give it to respect it deserves he directed guilty by Sis, fishing with dinner anyways. He he's the real deal, how he would guy and he does it the old school way, and it was great to talk to him. So that's coming up!
I feel alright. Do I sound alright, alright, I'll be honest with you I'll, be honest with you drink some, coffee today and I haven't drank coffee in a long time, and I made some coffee made white rose to make some. You know like yeah, I'm drinking it right now. Wow look out just shipped my pants, just coffee, dot, co op as a classic add that I made up- and I didn't have to Do but yeah I drink some coffee today and I'm not going back to it but uh Just my buddy came over. He want some coffee. I made some coffee if you're gonna have some coffee see what that does, and I don't think you can notice any difference. Can you notice any difference? There's not much difference in the way. I'm talking, because I'm drank coffee is there I mean there's a difference between t and coffee, but you can't tell from how I'm talking. Can you exaggerated that hey, but but so I've been doing some reading. I think I want to share this the name of this book with you I mean like I usually do, but I don't know who this on me. I think it was one of you guys it's called fantasy,
and how America went haywire a five hundred year, history by Kurt interesting. Maybe some have read this already. It's been on the best seller list and I have rarely take real time shouldn't read and I've been making myself do that because you know why, because I like to read- and it's a nice thing to do- and I don't make time for anything I you know, I am either so on my phone, I'm working on a thing or running around doing dumb, errands or necessary, errands or I'm cooking, which isn't bad either cooking. Reading listening to country music is how a managing right now and I don't need to manage- I mean I'm ok, but I mean I just took some taters out of the oven yeah and that's not code update I actually took some taters out of the oven, got a purple sweet potato. I gotta yam of orange, sweet potato, got japanese sweet potato and I got a regular sweet potato and that's how I roll four different kinds of sweet but
way to bake. Am I cut him up at Popham in my mouth when I'm feeling peckish that and cashews, maybe an almond or a date? yeah, that's that's how I'm living right now. That's it country, music, some powerful jazz, I'm reading a book and I'm snacking on potatoes and nuts. Alright You gotta problem with that, and I'm thinking about things that I'm feeling my feelings. The book is great, book fantasyland. It really is this over arcing sort of examination of the american Spirit in terms of our propensity towards magical thinking and living in a fantasy? Going back to be for the America was settled to original pre puritan religious groups that came here looking to establish a a righteous community. It was originally
in religion and then he just moved through all of it. I'm just right now, I'm halfway through the book were in the 70s were into conspiracies, were in the Disneyland, we've moved through a pentecostalism and we've moved through. PT. Barnum we've moved through a lot of stuff man, but the book is compelling his with readable. Is how and it does give you a sense of You know the nature of the individual and the deterioration of our belief in reason and science, not mine. But you know the neighbors. You know the weird neighbors there's a historical precedent to this president impact. On the fragile brain of the magically thinking hordes. It's not going to make you feel better. It might be You realize that we we're going to land here anyways, but there's no answers, there's no solutions. You know, fantasy magical thinking is
currently ahead. Right now, and Lord knows Lord knows the magical thinking. You know that winds. What is the fantasy? Exactly it's not going to be the world that I fantasized yeah. It's going be a lot more singular little more myopic, which is a diplomat, word for you know. Fascism, maybe that I want that word around. Say bad house. Bad is bad good. Folks look! What do you usually do when you're trying to find the best options for something online? Hi, a restaurant to eat I had a plumber to use an auto mechanic. You read reviews right, so why should finding the right software for your business be any different, read dozens of real software reviews and find the right software for your business at capterra, dot com, slash, WTF, Capterra is vote being free online resource to help you find the best software solution for your business, with over seven hundred and fifty
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looking forward to slicing them up, maybe eating a piece I like sweet potatoes. Don't you, I think, they're good? For me, I've decided that is not based on bullshit, though, is it? How do we know what we know? What is impulse look man, I don't know who you think you are what you think you're doing, but if every your life is built on in terms of a job seriously, if what you're doing doesn't involve math on some level, there's symbol Shooting involved, let's just be honest with ourselves, you know, might be blue shooting for the right reason. It might be right. This bull, but we are built the bullshit folks, it's how we serve five- and I you know, God knows listen to me. What is tumbling out of my face. What is it was? I can tell you about oh yeah, the Buddhism trip continue and it's actually starting to have an effect on me as something if you're just joining
our conversation. I made some comments that were funny actually about Buddhism, but some people took offense. Some people took hostile offense hostile Buddhist a good friend of mine and my sponsor and a respected psychologist and writer, a doctor Steve also a Buddhist we've had some conversations got no problem Buddhists, but that somehow I pissed some booty saw Another Buddhist came to my defense for this one sort of flesh it out a little better, a little better. This is the the Duke a comedian subject line Mark AM along time lever. The show two thoughts, one the burn brown chat was important. You have a knack for engaging with social scientists and thinkers. Yes, continue bring. In the stars, but your interferometer and psychologist seems to roll most free when you're, connecting with people like Rene to you receive several points of feedback on the Buddhism comment from the vents into not for What episode! While I find the situation hilarious and no you don't
need another perspective. I do think you've overlooked the root cause of audiences reaction. You likely have quite a few casual and committed buddhist fans. This is because, like it or not, you're the Duke of Podcast during comedian, now initially when I read that I did, I did that didn't sound good too, because the dookie- but I spelled differently de you- que que ha. They know what it was now we get the x one shin do. Guy is the buddhist concept of suffering and pain and the fact that much of life's mundane experiences are unsatisfactory. Now many, if not most, comedians, focus on suffering and draw their material from it. But you go deep into the depths of dukkha I'm I do good deep diver deep into the depths of dukkha. Many of your podcast intro monologues are you sharing the struggle of your mind, generating and recognizing suffering on a second by second basis, and you share this process with a degree of transparency and on
like no other in Buddhism. This is not a wasted process. This is the first crucial step, hear that Buddhists, I'm do command yeah. I'm the Duke a guy I'm living in do okay and do key by the way the Merrin Buddhist conspiracy widens Duca is brought on by craving, which is the chase. The cycle of attempting to a pain that which is fleeting and ultimately empty, of any value. This craving concept is often the basis of your addiction recovery dialogue with guests last week in a nut. Shell Buddhism said the majority of our problems are created by us our perspective, the the movie in our minds and not the actual outside world. So just let go lovingly engage with the world around you and do the best. You can pretty sure I
Did you hit on this exact concept during several conversations with gas mark you're? Pretty damn Buddhist accept, it. Apologies on the sermon, keep speaking your truth best Joe in Seattle, so there you have it. My buddhist detractors looks like I was unconscious, we being of assistance to the concept and practice of Buddhism and apparently at the first step and moving through some other ones, I'm not yet at the how a full is the eight fold path that sounds like a hell of a path, but right now, I'm I'm sitting in do Que and and a certain amount of mental dookie okay. So I think that's I think that ends it. I think I'm gonna take that is closure on the buddhist situation. All right, we good, I feel pretty good, as I mentioned fog One of our sponsors today is square space, and I don't know if you realize this, but square space is responsible for giving millions of people the power to turn their dreams in
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Listen! If you want my tour dates. There's a lot coming, go to W T, F, pod, slash, tour I'll plug in specifically another day. There's always time for that. What else have I got to tell you? I'm also going to have some upcoming dates where you can see sort of trust. Movie, I'm in directed by Lynn Shelton, that's going to happen to get a release real movie out the theater I minute, citing citing how 'bout exciting sighting exciting, exciting holy yeah coffee, not a great yeah for me, so Irwin Winkler came over he's in his eighties. He sharp as a tack I just wanted to hit the movies in learn about how know he got into the business. You've been a producer for fifty years and we talk about some of your favorite movies. My favorite movie We we got a lot in so this is also he's got this book in.
A life in movie stories from fifty years in Hollywood comes out. May seventh and it's easy read: this will be out it just a few pages on each movie- was involved with like a good story on each movie. He was a love with there's a lot of movies. So this is me talking to a producer when, when court, we live on the West side, yeah yeah forever. Yes, since we came out in nineteen sixty six, my wife, when we came out, I listen cause. What happened is I left New York came out here. She had a the apa we had in New York and take care of the kids, so she said two things: I want a convertible and of House in Beverly Hills because she was born right outside of Beverly Hills. That's right! She comes from sort of show business family alley aboard row. Yeah yeah did you know her parents. Now now you didn't
we made in New York when she had moved to New York. You've been in the business. Is it white over fifty years or five? Fifty three years and I found it fascinating right right out of the gate in the book that I think what was was really interesting is. Is your awareness obviously would be aware, as a producer, that of how the business changed. You know how change in five or six stages in the book. You talk about the landscape of the business, but even right when he got out here. That was shift when the bed, the it was in the midst of a big change yeah, because a government broke up the monopoly. Exactly and television came along people stop going to the movies and started watching television. So studios really. Your ceases cease to exist as they were known. They no longer had actors; on the contrary, correct is on the contract. When I went on the first time I walked on the MGM studios. They had a psychiatrist which they needed by the way. It's like. I try
probably for the actors to talk to or the exam no, but they had everything. They had a dentist all year. They have school, they controlled everything in your life. If you were assigned to them. That's interesting, like any other industry town that was built to service a particular industry, yeah, that's a content! That's an interesting yeah like Ford Motor Company yeah. I went to a city, billet factory, that's right and own everything around it. They rented the part of the houses you have workers in the out yeah. I think and they made it in close. It Dupont. I think, did that in some areas, and I know that even Metlife Stuyvesant town, you know in New York City you know, but in England when they did these rural communities where they would build the cold. Might, for instance, the cold come
would own. The house is that the people lived in yeah. They would, on the grocery, store that the people shop then right. The doctors would work for them and not for the right. Visual patients failed. Everything was kind of an interesting. I I think that you do a really good job of balancing in the book and in your life, the idea that this was in quite a we big business, but it's also had. There is the thing it had the glamour in the in the excitement of of the making your dreams of making it seem like it. It's a dream factor yeah, that's what they yeah I'm doing factories in for a reason. So where did you come from? Originally I came from Coney Island. Way back coming out, yeah, Coney Island and my first, my first job really, which was part time, was working on the boardwalk in Coney Island and it was the show business in in its purest form sure what happened is I. I worked in a a bumper card amusement
so with the cars banged into each other. You know and my job was to separate them. So I guess maybe that helped me in my later dealing with that. This is a separate everybody from being angry at each other and fighting with each other, so it back. Then it like. Have you been down to Coney Island lately? I haven't been there for years, my mother lived there until she died and that was about twenty years ago and so we hadn't gone back since, but the I remember you know hanging around Nathan's hot dogs, sure and then yeah all that stuff yeah. That was where I grew up. I talk to you is, as anything MEL Brooks is from there. Yeah MEL Brooks, from there going and then I I probably Coney Island and what he, what he Allen too yeah. So nations is still there with their hot. You like in a thin sock, okay, yeah, actually, there's now a nation, is kind of a mobile Nathan stand on Central Park South
and now and Fifth avenue. I remember they had I yeah. I remember they tried to make a change out of it. I don't know if it ever took. Well, it's a mobile change. A summer I went to like trunks, stand yeah yeah, yeah yeah you can you still get hot dog, the house. I think the old ones were great because they probably never clean the grill, so the hot those will cooking. In fact, for about twenty years- and I bet you- they still had the real pay casing on it. Like I was having a snap, you know I mean. So what is so did you so you didn't? It wasn't your first job showbiz. Right? You you you when I was your business bumper, because your insurer in these are the freak shows in the park drive salute yeah I was, I was definitely beginning yeah. But what How did you learn how to do what you did? Where'd where'd you go from what I gather graduate from. I went to college in New York Way and why you and the when I graduate I was looking for a for a job, and I read a book and in the book there was a description of
an agent kind of sounded interesting and I knew a guy as I was growing up, that was tall guy and he You are a black suit and a white shirt new tie and his name is Danny Wilks and he was an agent at MCA and I thought well like I look so good were in that black suit. So I didn't know- and I went up to MCA and went looking for GMC at the time was the big big agency, and I didn't anything that guy at in New York in New York. Now. Can I ask me what kinds of I had no idea what he was talking about and, of course he didn't hire me, but I guess get rid of it. He said you should try William Morris because they were competitive, they will being down at the William Morris Agency, so I said, ok. I got the address and I went up to it for an interview at William Morris and sure enough. The Gaia give me the same exact questions right now. I knew what not to say yeah, so I got the job in the mailroom is a temporary for eight weeks.
It's a ten weeks, while the other guy guys in the might have been on vacation because it was the college. So it was MID June. Into August and that's how I started and it You have no sense of what an agent really did. Are you John you not a bit you have you have you like show business, so I and I know I didn't even know I just looking for a job and that seemed ok and somebody if somebody else came along and offered me a job as book. Publishing I might have taken that order selling shoes he could have gone either way good on it. As a matter of fact, when I was in the army and stationed in Louisiana, I was I got, Job in a shoe store is selling shoes on Asati's and Sundays when we weren't there in camp. You are ok with that yeah. The kid I would do it would matter, but your butt. If you come back from that, were you in Korea, no I was in the army during career, but I spent
twenty some odd mines in Louisiana and then that you get out and did you go back to school and that's when I went back yeah what happened is I was a I graduate high school rather young. I skipped a couple of classes here and so When I went to Nyu, I got into Nyu out of high school but, as I said, I was like seventeen going to college and they were still a lot of x, GIS guys came back from the Second World WAR, and they were in college under the GI bill right. So here I was's kid in all the students around me with men who had really lived through four years of war yeah hiding in the Japanese or the Germans, where I was so I was really out of place and I feel very uncomfortable and Korean wash the I did- and I said you know when I gotta get outta here and I literally join the army. I was a volunteer. Join the army and spent two.
It is in the army. When I got out, I was now a lot more mature, it went. Nyu The g ice were already gone right, so I felt very comfortable and I had a professor had one course I was they can cause. I didn't know what I wanted to do and He was a member, they will lay he a professor Leahy Hair and he introduced me to american literature yeah. I fell in love with John the Spices and John Stynes there and from being Forkner with great american rightists like this story, and I fell in love with it and I started reading vociferously and I can love that area. When I, when I got Kaweah and seeing what was going on, I really decided that that's something I kind of like them wanted to do, and I frankly you could fifty some odd and the. Now at sixty years later from when I started we in Mars
I've, never done anything else and never had any desire to do anything. You tell stories tell stories exactly that was that was the incentive. Yes, it was, but then, but I didn't even go directly into producing your went into personal management. Well, what happened was I was at best the mediocre agent. Then I'm giving myself a lot of credit. I tell you, I don't even understand what these guys do when I read your book, you know, and I see the politics are involved and that the way decisions are made, and you know the on some level there's a real racket to treating an actor like their special not easy yeah I mean. Obviously the big three are special in the works of course, but but I'm saying like they're just one piece of the puzzle, obviously important piece right but but it just sort of fascinates main yeah, the politics of pudding. These movies together dealing with the talent and dealing it's crazy. So so how does
start for you. You go into personal man, yeah? Well, I, as a say, a mediocre at I was in and I got married when I was in the mail room or you Marcia was making forty bucks a week and the future yeah and, Margo my mother, my wife, her mother and father were both vaudeville preview right, mother, actually did a plane, Beethoven's Violin Concerto, while we shoes doing a backbend and with her act wasn't enough to just play the concerto. A father was an MC who did a sand dance. Now we're saying dances, you would sand on the stage yeah and he would move his feet to make music with the ST all right. So you get that kind of almost like a brush on the drums yeah exactly so she came from the ne a we met. Yeah we got married very young and the I
we struggle along between Mars for six or seven years, and you like a junior agent or you. Finally, I made it into a regular agent, but who are your clients and no? No, nobody would know because they weren't very important is marvak. That's why I was a failure. Is an agent and agent is goose good Esrb basically his clients- and I didn't have very- I had a couple of really broken down. Comedians stand up, comedy It's the semi shore, which use your client semi, show with one of our clients yet and fact, that's the first, call my cell bob E Rice and Anna Club in grain village. She was,
he was a leading acting. She was the opening act for semi sure you know I interview Sami, you know. Did you really still around he's on vague item will sail off yeah yeah. I work at the comedy store all the time. So I know it's kids any near Mitzi and I I'm very you know kind of preoccupied with that whole mythology that place, but I went out there and I talk to him yeah we do handle you, member Jackie, Vernon, sure I love Jackie, Jackie right away, yeah, so I'd show that the fake, so I'd show we're that's right. Eleven. He was one of my favorites when I was a little kid yeah Jim, so is that those are the kind of Are you going out to the clubs in New York at that time? Yeah and then I met Bob Chartoff who is Hamley, Jackie Mason, oh young, Jackie Mason, did we get in trouble earlier yeah? Well, we we were handling when he got in photo with Ed Sullivan. What do you do flip day gave him a flip flip the finger or something sounds exactly right handed or what happened to Jackie
comedians when they go on television to go or in a nightclub, as you well know, have routine sure you have a set routine and they pretty well know. What they're going to say next and we but Sullivan if you were on and had a four minute spot, you had a pre, well rehearsed. You know with the Lhasa going to be and everything else and Sullivan to Jackie Mason as he was going on, so cut it down. Two one slash two minutes, so he, You go and it was pretty tough. So, in other words, you have to have your routine suddenly rear it. As you're heading to and headed to live camera in half a joke out to an end. So he gave him the flip, and that was a big scandal. So anyhow, barber handle Jackie and Jackie started. Doing really really well and Bob said to me why you're you're not happy away a Mars, so I'm starting out with a couple
comedian, he was in a way that way more says. Well, no, he was a manager how it just right. Bob had graduated from Columbia LAW School and he didn't want to be a lawyer and his uncle was above booking at booked acts in the Catskill mountains, houses gray. So he had a lot of contacts with see is dances. You know his own had a big board and If you drove a car, you could get a weekends work because she would drive the dance act right. Comedian or the or singer. That was pretty manager. That's right! Everyone get in I'll pick, you up! That's right and you ended up getting work for the weekend. If you had a car and rover everybody around because in those days you would do you drive up to the school to the borscht belt and you do two shows on Friday, probably three on Saturday and two on Sunday, then head back into town. It was good. That was a good work week and I was a week and then so he had yet he had Mason. Who else will
Vernon, Jackie Vernon and a couple other guys well? I can't remember how to do Anna singular too yeah. That was this table. That was, he was personal man yeah, and he made it. He made a couple of bucks, but he said to me: if you have more experience in legitimate actors and because I have a couple of produces in television people he said one. Get together and they not happy at William Marsh. I think we make a good partnership and He joined the together and we were together is for seventeen or eighteen years in that, well, we started in management and then we ended up making the first. You know fifteen years of producing
a a! I believe that I have with that was. He was with the the for the whole time and he was only seventeen eighteen years. You guys were our yeah yeah. We broke up in nineteen. Eighty really eighty to come around a have right because he wanted to take it. Easy are really wanted to get more involved in philanthropy and all right now yeah. When I kept wanting you couldn't stop yeah. I could stop and still can't stop by the rarely. If you have the id and I need I got it yeah. I want to ask you right now house at that house, the kind of the Irishman, yeah we saw were MA my one on ice or my wife, Margot, and I saw it about a month ago in New York yeah. It's it's really. It's probably I think maybe one the greatest gangster movie. You know he outdid himself, but mighty outdid himself come on. The Nero is so great out Chino is Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Pesci Ray Romano. It's got a great cast and a great story are great script:
hi, Steve Zalian, who the wonderful writer that's exciting and a the coming out in the fall. It's really missing a couple of movies that you produced I watch over and over again like every year yeah. I I mean I watched goodfellas at least twice a year and sing raging, bull, probably twenty thirty times. Well we're going run raging, bull at the LOS Angeles County Museum on May, ninth by the way and big screen big screen reigning world brand new print. Yet all it's terrific and I'm gonna do a q there as well. That's great, that's I died. I love that movie will get there. So I, okay, so you're you're doing the met you do working as an agency. Obviously a learning how the business works on the job right right, so, you know you get not doing well right, but if we, you're, getting that information, hello, yeah, yeah! I know what our general business was about yeah, so when when you hug, when you start up, would with Bob you know what what's the first order, business. You guys are running a personal management company were first always get some jobs for for people and find a way to to
My unsuccessful clients that I took with me from William Mars, who were which, which one well, one was man you never know his name was not Coney was english producer. Of low budget films, and he was so unimportant that when I left William Morris there, let me take him with me and I would even bloody nobody knew he was even gone and he had a a a group of of films. A call carry on nurse who is series of low budget comedy is that they made and and an England in the sixties, in the late sixty here and my friend Colin, financed and produced all those films ok. So I represented him in and we then met a young. There was a young age, it came that was working William ours after I left who I thought was, very bright, and I asked him to come over work for us and that was David Geffen and at the last
and he decided not to work for us but sent this another young man by Name Elliot Roberts in Elliott started our music division and that's and so we went from handling those comics to some actors right, and then basically to joy, Metro, we had observe imaginable yeah, Jeff and ended up recording them. So was that relationship part of that? What happened is when we started producing Elliott left those went to work with David Geffen and they became partners. You know there you go and then the history of music is invented. That's exactly right! Yeah! That's crazy, like how many of the guys like in the book kind of recur- and you see everybody kind of comes up together and some guys follow but then other guys become yeah well yeah, because some of you never hear about and then obviously you don't write about a much because you know you don't think of them. But
when I was in the mail room, some of the the well, I I think two or three of four of them that I remember that I still see everyone's well most of gone yeah. It was a very, very famous, a personal management and Bernie Brillstein. How Bernie sure be bursting great Britain. I I remember Bernie Bernie Abilene handle guys. I knew yeah and you know he was go great, great, personally, wonderful guy. He passed away about six hundred years ago, but Bernie was in the mail room with Maine Jerry Weintraub here who was uh, so became a very big producer, producing all the oceans, movies and but we started out when he left the Morris office were not about the same time. I left tomorrow's office. He was you know handling. He went out. He went in to handle Frank Sinatra's,
big touring, Elvis Presley's, big touring. He was very, very success and he was a friend of yours, oh yeah. We always hung guys together because I get yeah. I get it because he's, but you talk about how the first movie you know you did was Elvis Movie, that's right but like I, but I think, what's fascinating to me. What I am really realize about producing in about the the creativity in it was at you guys you would take a property of literature, a literary property or even just a story find the writer find a star the director find a studio, find some money like I mean, It was really the job there was. No, you are a part. Your part of the whole process is every producer like that. No no it seem. Unfortunately, not a fact. One of the reasons I wrote the book is because over the people said to me: what is a producer really do right and the truth of the matter is the producer could do everything could be everybody, including
I don't know. Madonnas had dresses brother who somehow became the producers who gets the credit for no reason at exactly right so, but and there are produces like early birthday, no board. Jerry went over myself, or Brian Grazer, who I know you had on the show who are produces an and that's a function is different. That's when you are. I walked into your office and says you know I got an idea for this and this and you say: hey yeah, that's not bad. Let's kinda were look on that work with him and he writes script. And then you re write this. And then you say: how are we going to catch the guy says? Well now, then, I gotta star in it they go in that zone of and it's hardly know, many got to figure out how to get rid of that guy, but not making. I had a case Houston Rockets just that it's the long.
Came to see Bob Jonathan, I as an actor but we didn't have a pot forum and now you know as he after we chatted for mention he left the office as he was leaving. He said, oh by the way, and I'm going to try to imitate the slide here. You see, by the way, I'm a writer yeah yeah. Well, you know we didn't look like a rat in a sound like a ride in what I guess. Whatever right, it doesn't look like we care of anything. If I send you a script with, you guys read it so he sent this script and uh. We thought the writing was really really good, but it was not something we wanted to do so. We Add to him. We call them back and say: hey, you know, we think you're, a good writer. But frankly, this is not a script were interested in doing it. He and he was like an out of work. Actor, who is dying for a job wages, Diane Lords of Flatbush, Breaux yeah. That's it and that's why we saw our because he he was very good at what had a rubber band. Didn't work, Stanley, okay,
so he said I, you know he got grabbed the hook and he said well, if you really like my writing, I got another idea. Can I come in and talk to you about it, so he came back and he pitched the idea of rocky and we thought it was kind of nice little story. Sure, and he said you know what I'll write the script for. Nothing, you don't have to pay me right away. It sounded good by the way, and he said. However, this one one problem. He said it's not a problem, he said if you like the script, and we want to make the movie I have to star in it. So we said well nothing to lose. If we don't like the script, didn't cost us anything, we're not paying him right and if we like the script- and we start with ok so as so he gave us about half the script we gave him notes sent back. I know it's, he finished the script, rather quick, and then we should it's a nice little moving that can make it for show. But money, and all that and you had a deal right and we had a deal at the studio at United Artist and we said
Ok, we're going to make this little movie with salami and know a lot, and they should wait a minute wait, a minute you to make a fight movie. Women don't go to see fight movies. Nobody goes to see. Fight movies and you. You got an ugly guy and an ugly girl, the two ugly ducklings who's going to want to see what we got going fishing on the screen here and you want to shoot in Philadelphia. Nobody goes to Philadelphia anymore, and then they said I know when, when you want to start who here Sylvestris for lonely hate that name even, why would so we said? Well, that's what we we in now. We we just getting really really angry Abbas. We said wait a minute, that's the goal, all those reasons that you gave us. Those are good re, is to make a movie, because what happens is if you listen to all the brilliant people out there who tell you this is way to do it. This is the way to do it. There always going for the
is common denominator. We had to make a buck based on by the way is set at the end of the movie loses yeah, and I bet it's terrible, so they all kinda okay, so we got real, the I'd, say, angry and determine but politically you're in a good position. 'cause of the deal right now we had a deal that where, if we didn't make a movie within a certain period of time, we could put what they call put him to him in other ways, make him make him forced to make a movie at a certain price sure the price was a million and a half dollars, which today would be a, I guess, eight or nine million yeah, and so what they did in that really got his angry. They did a budget on FM twelve and he said well, the picture is two million dollars they four it's no longer under the million and a half dollars maximum. So we said: ok in that case will make it for one million dollars and will guarantee any overages and they say women
You don't have any money, how you can guarantee open. So we kind of wrote a personal note put up with everything we had to get and see whatever overages there were, as it turned out. They were like only twenty five thousand dollars in overages yeah. So then they were forced to make the moving. They reluctantly made the movie, but they thought they were making it with different guy they fled. Stallone was the guys name, another character from lords of Flatbush from lords of Flatbush here, because they want to see they want. You brought him in to see the movie and they said, wait a minute, that's the guy. They made the movie with the wrong. It's amazing thing to me about that story is that you know this is studios involved and where were they doing during shooting they just way you guys went and did you think they had other work to do and then you actually united notice at the time was very, very producer friendly. So they trusted you, they try. So those their attitude was if we, if we, if we don't trust you, we shouldn't give you the money to make the movement. Is that the one they stifle distribution on that you had to go? They wanted to yeah
by the way, the same guys at that time made one clue: the cuckoo's Nest Annie Hall. They had a whole string of films where they trusted the film makers. So we made the movie and they looked and they sent me a letter saying you know. We think it's okay, but We want to remind you that we have the right to just sell it right to television or not this periodical yeah. So we went through the whole process of getting a theatrical release and all that stuff, and you go an adult and directed it. Yeah happened was we were looking for directed that could do a quick movie. We didn't think it was going to be this. Well, I didn't think that I'd be sitting fifty years later, looking back to hear what he is later talking about after likes now what six or seven sequel, some eighty eight eight that's great to hear here to the eighth one yeah and we're planning another one.
With Michael gives. You are you feeling again yeah. I enjoyed the movies. I I like creed but apple to what what I, what struck me was that you knew him from yeah yeah. What happened was we had done a really bad movie that we had to re shoot three which one it was co, but it turned out. It was called believe in me with Michael SAM, Senate Jacqueline Bessette how the Druggie movie yeah it was a movie that didn't really work and we convince the state because the studio came down on him because they content exactly my to work. If you do it been allowed yeah I never would have worked. I know you be inclined later when and where to where all right, so you knew him from that. He helped you out. He came a good job for us and what we want, somebody who was fast should really get it done quick and we hired Allison and he did a terrific job. The rest is history and the rest is history. Well, let's go back before that because, like I I'm really kind of fascinated with the shift in the you know. I know we don't have a all day and you've done a lot of movies, but you know
from MIKE sixty seven to say you know all the ways you know through up to rocky. You know that I was the year of the american art tour right. The studio system is broken down complete and then you had these guys that had a pov directores and you this kind of locked into that. But I think like what I wanted to say before is that you know, I didn't realize until reading this book- and I know there's not a lot of guys like you, but a lot of times. The creative impetus for certain movies you know, is all on the user. If you, if your guy, like yourself, you find a book- and you like this- could be something we know a guy that can write this one. We see how to do a script, see what we can do like it start with. You in a lot of ways: yes, rocky story is one, but even even strawberry statement right and that the strawberry statement, which is a film really about really and it's worthwhile scene, because it really is a picture of what going on in America in the late 60s, during the height of the. U
movement may the conflict in Vietnam, but yeah what we would do in that case, we would find story that was in New York magazine or tipped off about a store in New York magazine, because we knew the the editor and I am a writer to write the screenplay convinced studio, finances and casted and make the movie and what about like? They shoot horses, don't they. I just. I just watch out because I interview Jane. That movie was it was so weird and so good and so uncomfortable, but it seems like that is a real like hands on training a put in some together like that yeah that were you that was complicated. A that we can relate because, like you know, I eight the way it all came together now. Did you find that property as well with that one? What happened is we kind of see? I did made by a body second or third movie. We started to make up an impression we had The second movie we did was a movie called point blank with
the Great Leap Robin Great Movie, Epic movie, yeah yeah, John Gorman yeah John woman, and that enhanced our but John Bone is an interesting story. We had a kind of very loose relationship with John Boy through that english producer I had mentioned earlier, not going all ties together, yeah, so when, when we got the script of point blank we kind of looking for a star that was really tough because it was by was based on a star character. Who is a pseudonym? Donald Westlake was a great great mystery writer and it's really tough character. An we feel you know. Most of the tough characters always want to be like even Humphrey, Bogart and stuff is he? Is he right? I'm always felt like a maniac, and we do you Robin sitters me Cagney there. So you're rooting for the on your own for the bags that we wanted a guy who is really bad? Are you often have a kind of a on or about him at the time yeah? So
We sure? How do we get a hold of Lee Marvin? Who called leave a much agent who wouldn't even call us back no kidding, so we did this, I mean we with that crazy at the time. So we said you know what we'll do, let's get into the sky Jump woman, who is only done one little movie in England, which was like a Beatles kind of movie, was go catch me if you can, with the Dave Clark, five yeah. It was about these rock and roll guys around England in the late sixties right so so you know what we're gonna. This is. What we'll do Lima it is making the dirty dozen in England, so we called up John woman's, hey John we're going to send you this script. You read, if you like it, you finally mom, we didn't know where he was staying you and finally, when he's in London someplace doing the dirty dozen and if you can get, I him read the script and if you read groups like it to convince him that you should directed when you think of this is rather easy. Dickey was thing is, but we we didn't know better. Really.
All we do is that we liked the script we wanted Lee Marvin in it, wouldn't because back and sure enough someday the phone rang. It was his agent who never called us back, saying hey, guys that Mama just called he said he liked that script. You eyes and I'm sorry I didn't call you back, but you want to do your movie you, but you want to do with John Love with John Bloom work before and we work. What there is. The other thing about read me stories. Is it like they did the way to go, it would go you're flying all over the world is going to get you to have a meeting right after I did try to get it did that too, because that was that was the exciting part of the life right. He also, we you know,
as a say a moment ago. We didn't know any better. We just went straight ahead. We just kind of number that I think that was the the nature of the time right. Everything was yeah, it was in chaos, it is a wireless system had broken down. They would nobody knew what was going on. It was still money there. There were guys there and they need to make movies. I own after easy rider. You like what we're gonna have to tap into this, and we know we can't make a don't know with another Dari stay kind of movie. Yeah, that's over something different. I think, like you know like it. What what really struck me is is is something that could do at that time when you weren't afraid to do all the way through Rocky, which it was antithetical to the studio system. Was you, you didn't, have happy endings, necessarily yeah human endings yeah right yeah, like the
like the new centurions, which is, I think, and an unsung great movie. Thank you yeah. I do too yeah yeah, but also in the engine charges caramel how bad they should horses and those with a heart, rending finest and put a bullet in my head yeah. But that was the time that the country was existentially challenge. It was it you know. Well, the Vietnam WAR or the ending of strawberry statement is because of our music background. We, John Lennon to give us give them Paul Mccartney, give us give peace a chance, and it ends up with a police ride on a campus where they kill a kid yeah. So this, Who is the new Hollywood? It was you guys were producing like guys like how Ashby and Scorsese was starting out and ray person in all those cats by Donna veterinarian. Billy Freaking is Elvis.
A teller yeah he's great great, so make it to great guy. I just watch the french connection. Again, I still hold he'll, be a great yeah, but, like I guess like in you did, I realize you did the original game, where that was a tricky yeah yeah. Well, acting those guys yeah well directed the original amendment in Macau. Rice, yeah, that's right! The went on he made some really really trying to intense woman french with comes with Meryl Streep right, yeah yeah, but before that he had done a couple of the English working class kind of movies. He was in Christine man that he was right to a woman by name. I bet she who is married to gene Kelly at one time no kidding. I like I've, always like the game with the original one. I I I thought was either a sometimes listen to the music of it. It's the mollis First Symphony is: is the primary source of music row? Yeah yeah a yeah, but then like. I guess really that you know everything changes wide members see break? It's so funny 'cause! So many of these movies on fifty five, so these
grown up movies? When I was a kid- and I remember seeing the posters for my remember, I remember seeing break out with my parents are going to if you have withdrawn since you're my dad, like Charles Bronson, right yeah, we did a couple movies with him. Yeah I mean it. You get you gotta. After a it's, it's easy, you can imagine one of the stories that he had kind of figured out how to deal more charming little funnier yeah. Well, I am broke out, he's kinda yeah and it, but I guess Rocky really is the beginning of the shift in the business towards blockbuster the movies right well, at the black was rocky, it was joy, was french connection and and certainly the godfather, so all them kind of came in that period. You know what was the story about the godfather about the gangster movie. Wait in the book who was it I couldn't do a gangster movie, what you know what happened there? I know why, when I was doing the gang that couldn't shoot, somebody throws nearby Jimmy Breslin, oh yeah, and I was for direct is so I got a call from an age.
You said I have an idea for you how about Francis Ford Coppola directing the gang that couldn't choose what he done up to that point? He had done Finian's rainbow and a couple of other films like that. I said now why in the world would I hire Francis Ford Coppola to do again the movie. And instead of doing my movie, he did the godfather, probably the greatest gangster movie made. You laugh about that. When did the relationship with With Martin Scorsese begin 'cause I mean you did several. You did your New York, you did raging bull, you did Goodfellas Goodfellas and now did well for Wall Street right silence and a and the I have the Irishman. So how does that be? again 'cause you were working with the Nero with. I did the game, could you couldn't shoot straight and what happened was I had seen mean streets at the New York Film Festival, and I thought it was really traffic in he, and I had a coffee together afterwards and
this chat and he was a big fan of point blank. As a matter of fact in mean streets, he uses the poster of Marvin Point Blank in a scene, so I was very interested in him because I thought how did he even know about point blank? So we go yeah the we had a drink and we we we he I we we kind of got friendly but very quickly, and then I got a call from his agent and said money had red and one of the trade papers that I was doing. This big band Musical called New York New York and he let Battier love the music of it, love the host worry about it. He loved the Big MGM musicals are made by vin Simonelli through you grew up with right yeah and he to talk to you about it, and then we talked, and I was thrilled Becaus. I was talking about actually the gene Kelly about directing it, and then I realized that the story needed a modern thought to it, because it was too traditional. Not only was the big band era, traditional them use, it was somewhat reduce. Yeah, I know,
did somebody who could really shake up the story- and I humanize it like maybe a tougher yeah, make it tougher, because it was too often was this is laurie- is about and of a man and a woman who were together yeah, it was, it did, you say, was loosely based on a on an active with scene yeah. What what what happened is when the when Bob to one hour in the management business, we handle a very, very good crab, you're, a singer by the name of Felicia Sanders, and she her husband was that was her penis than accompanist and he was a great great piano player and a piano, but she kind of between the two of them. She was the one that brought in the money and he had whatever am and he had as a pianist where is subjugated to playing little ditties behind Felicia Sanders cause that's how they made their living and I was struck by what their relationship must have been and how whether he was jealous of what
knock high success here. Yet he loved her and he suppressed all his talent for yeah, and I don't know that she ever really appreciated him for what he did and that that's what yelled in your mind, is the store exactly that's. What caused the story to band? That's why I hired somebody to write the story based on my experience, with not quite a star is born because he never becomes exactly yes, it's the opposite of stars, but yeah, it's and she never really reached reach the heights. But it's it's a guy that suppress his talent and then that was the kernel of it. So that's a yeah, it's a sort of a sad by the way you're doing what is a producer? Do that's one of the things you have this idea right, that's what I mean and it starts with you yeah and your high. I hired a guy yeah, but in their own my grouch. The only reason I hide him is because I read some of script that he wrote. It had never written anything that made, but I made a cheap deal with him. I would have a lot of money, so I got to do it cheap,
and he was so Scorsese likely identity like the script and he bought the toughness to it and then but it was a hard sell, a musical in one thousand nine hundred and seventy seven. Well. What happened was we had a little heat because Iraqi so these came right after Rocky, on top of it, how you feel about that yeah yeah, pretty good. You do well, I mean what happened was th came out of each other in a way. That's why doing New York New York, Bob Dinero was, is walking around with this book all the time Cole raging bull, where I had more discourse saved his work around all the time with, with a book called the last temptation of Christ and be cause. We order our bonded together on New York, NY the Neros it to me. Look I got this book. Why did you produce it and will make this
movie and that took years of right, the allergy of many years felt like the New York New York thing, like you know, Bob went out in the: U R Data play saxophone, you did everything I could the music a you know you got the edge to it had to do with the box office that way now why do think? Why do you think it was very tough? It was very tough, but you know we got a pretty good song out of you know, that's where the song came from Frank. What happened was in the script during their courtship and while there here in love and everything is going well, he says I'm going to write a song for you in a major chord, a big big song in a major chord, and that was kind of the theme of the movement to some extent, and then LISA, because she had such big success with candy or an Eb the songwriter and composer here of cabaret uh. She said why don't you Hyatt Kandara to write the song, so I can't they're in ab and they were
four songs in We all went to New York and they play this song for us and the New York, Ny Song, was kind of a little ditty we all said, wait a minute. You know this gotta be a big, dramatic song and I said. Well, we don't want to write a big, dramatic song because we don't want to compete with the and they come down and Green Leonard Bernstein Song, New York, NY it's a wonderful town right. So we should wait a minute. We don't care about that song. Yeah I mean we want you to write a big big dramatics on and if you can't write it get somebody else to arrive here. They said. Ok, let me let us try, again and weeks lay down their forget it. I got a tape, an audio tape and my wife and I will go into dinner at the palm and I put it in the what are your player in my car and it kander and ebb at the piano singing New York, New York,
that's how we knew we had something yeah and then Frank, took it later and made it as you and it didn't save his career couldn't get. We couldn't get anybody to play LISA's version and it was really really great it. Just radio didn't want to play it. So not you who is not doing particularly well in the late 70s or seventy six, and he called LISA Ann said. You know I'd like to she didn't own the song we did, but as a courtesy he wanted to cover her song. So he called her and said the am I if I record your a song, Doc New York and she said yeah, it's not going anywhere and he made he did it and it became a great great thing for Natchez career at the time and it became the theme song of New York now and what it means to be there. You can make it anywhere and you end up and you on that song yeah nice data, but again it was only because we insist that they write something that was
great American. You could never have known that it would have a life. I never know never know, because it was far of who we concerned after two years or you can't get it played it's over. And also at the end of the movie did okay. It was a great experience but like you, but you get whatever you lost in the movie. You got back on the song yeah and also from that movie I ended up making raging bull yeah and I'm Tatian cry well. I ended up going to the process of lesson at the last minute. We were so so over budget and so in difficulty on the right stuff that I had a devote more. Time to add Bob, and I had a really spend a lot Among the right stuff, which turned out I think one of the best movies I've ever been. It's like it's one of my favorite movies, the so I didn't do I ask Marty to let me I turned it over to him and never got credit on. I think the amazing thing about the right stuff and I don't want to jump over raging bull but like was I I don't think. I think the comedy of the right stuff is genius, like you just rides design, but it's there,
I mean it's really a funny movie in some ways, not like a slapstick comedy, but there are moments just added the the the sort of the the insanity of trying to get these guys in the space of a whole areas, yet Harry Shearer, Jeff Goldblum running down on it, is what it was. Then we read the Johnson character, yeah great yeah, and wanted to be on television. Oh yeah yeah dead, because the John Glenn's wife, you can't deal with the but but raging bull? I mean you know so again. This is something that was a property that you know that Bob was interested in that someone else own that you got. N n E. U rescue right! You! You wrestle this saying into existence, really well yeah. We did because Bob's passion for it now and ultimately Marty's passion for it. Really. We should was incredible by then. We had made such a success with Rocky
which was an academy award winner and did great great business that we were able to force the studio into making raging bull because they want the rest make a rocky too and many turns out to truly different movie, and there is a different and I like the whole process, like you know, trying to figure out you how to make that character, sympathetic and in dealing with Paul Schrader and the item member who, what was your? What was the final script to script? Was it finally? Well all? Finally, the script was written by Marty, Scorsese and Bob there are, what happened was pulled, did did a we really. Really good job. As far as structure is concerned, he's dark cat, though yeah he is dark and we I did more fashion anyway, right so Marty and uh in Bob we kind of send him down to get it before they went down to the Caribbean two.
The name of the island and they spent three or four way- Martin's Kmart. And yes, So when I found fascinating about that whole story outside you know the process in the editing, and you know how it was shot, and you know him learning how to fight and put it on the way, all the stuff that we already know that there was one moment in the story that really was like revealing about trader and also revealing about what you're talking about now, finding the passion when the when he's locked up in that jail cell and triggered script, the jerking off and the that wasn't the way to go for the character, and somehow you need not not that it was offensive. You know the guys jerk off whatever, but that character was not that hi exam a really says something about Schrader's in her life. He not a negative way that you know he would have taken it on himself from it. But but then you know that you the choice am punching the punch in the wall with that there's between Modi and Bob yeah. It's it's very. It was. You know there was a. There was something about that
it's a very odd you kind of like predicament like you know this guys not gonna jerk off in this could have beat the walls out. I just thought that was kind of a fascinating himself, but then, of course that, the job also, then I I mentioned in the book, then the process making film is there's a complication to that then the prop man and the better. I come to me and say: what should we do with the war? yeah. How do we build the wall because we don't want Bob than it would to break his hand, because he would yeah because he punched the wall, so we have to The wall? Look like it's real enough and still not given that break his hand, so have to build in to the all. Had kind of price comes in through the no no hair away, tailed it out and the type of produce you are you're involved with all the nuts and bolts of it yeah hi in the in the in. Obviously, it is one of the greatest movies. Ever and again, you know not realizing it 'cause, it's been awhile and I didn't know the context of the industry, then
that you know to have a guy that violent towards his wife tours in the language and then towards Brieven. Today, if you look at here bit surprised by and you got away with that, how well would have again, we had a lot of credibility because we had one Academy award for Rocky and what happened is in Rocky was in a way, the opposite of it, because it was a film that was really really I. What I think of is a great romance and a great the story about believing in yourself and never never backing. If you have your chance, take it and run with it. Thank you both the opposite. Well, in a lot of ways. Yes, yes, it's what violence can do to you in in a way you know yeah and and pride and ego and all yes yeah, I a a a and it did well. Obviously it raging bull, it's still doing well, it gets played all the time and
it's considered really really one of the get films of that period, and I like the story of the right stuff, which I thought you know. I love Phil Kaufman an I love the movie, but it wasn't. The story of disappointment was it? Is it's kind of baffling a day in retrospect I, a great movie the when n dash? In again, you wrangled it yourself with Tom Wolfe Right Tom was an old friend and he gave he gave us an early look at the book yet and and so you got the property. Yes, we bought. The property yeah and then borrow money and eventually pulled in Phillip to write it and he wanted to well, happened is original. We hide another. To do it and we weren't happy with the screen play yeah and then we gave it to fail and we asked him to write. And then he didn't want to direct. So we had to convince him to direct it. Yeah, and
What you get is. This is sort of a matter of the original. I was William Goldman, who is also a great writer who will just pass away yeah, who wrote all the presidents men, but turned out. We didn't like the script yeah, which was everybody, was kind of stand by it right and he took his money and he didn't want to do that and then decide whether to add or and then then that's when we brought in California not like when you look at that. You know the arc of that film in the making of it was kind of a spectacular event. You know you got Nassam Board, you an it just It does nothing I mean how do you explain that lady and you go to the theater the day? Have you think it's going to be a big hit? There's nothing! Nobody there. Yeah. I tell the story because I got up that morning to Friday we had got great reviews We were. We had like ten pages in Newsweek magazine ten pages Time magazine. It was really really great previews and everything else, and I got that morning and I drove to Hollywood to see it was at the chinese theater and
nobody outside, and I took a little boy. There was such a proud that the theater manager letting early in early cause they were writing to get. In course, when I looked in there was nobody there yeah. So I said well, I knew then I was in trouble, but I then I draw The century city were a playing I for well, maybe everybody went to send city turned, there was nobody there home again that night at home and really really a depression? My son Adam came to me. He was going to Beverly Hills. I and he said that a strange thing happened. My teacher, a everybody to go, see your movie, the right stuff at the theater century city tomorrow we had to sign up and they don't have to go to class to go to a movie. I said: well, that's great! That's wonderful that you teach you did that he said yeah, but nobody signed their. Oh my I said to my sweater. It they'd rather sit in class. Then I see my movie. What do you think?
why do you think that happened? You know what you never know there. There's absolutely no reason for it. I'm not no reason I thought about it for thirty thirty forty years and I really have never figured it out because it's a really really score. That's absolutely by Bill Condon Bill Conti that one Academy award it's about America, it's about the best things in America. It ends up. Heroic performance by SAM Shepard area, and it's It's about America, conquering space, yeah, it's funny. As you said, it's moving and we could can get anybody to see it in one four academy awards was nominated for eight academy awards this day, I'll, never figure out why it's wild man, he also give a little love to true confessions, which I also think should a bigger movie, and I think it's a genius movie. I love that movie that was like that was so
great. It also struck me about how aware you were of these actors of Bob's ability of dinners ability to sort of really take on things that are sort of a polka diametrically opposed any like he took the challenge to go raging bull to true confession, which is like the opposite, and I got exactly you're absolutely right. It's just the opposite character. You can be, you know we could do it yeah, but she could do anything. I mean the other day I was just. I had nothing to do with that. I was watching like analyzed, and he's just great got hysterical, so it is after he can't do. Where do you see him in the Irishman? I think you're going to see a performance that you can. And I believe I can't wait. I had I got to meet him because they did a very, very small part in this new joke. A movie. The Todd Phillips directed. Aha, so I got to do is see. Really it was like here. You know I didn't he would remember me or anything, but it was very exciting to meet the guy he's
he's very well. We made, I think, like also like eight more. Let's say we made New York NY gang that couldn't shoot sherry raging, bull, true confessions, guilty by suspicion. Fellows fellows and the Irishman well yeah. What's what's talk about, though of it, he I mean good fellows, obviously did. Is it one of the best movies, and you tell me that the Irishman's a better gangster movie so that you know a man? Okay, why don't you do kissing No, we weren't part of that. I will it happen. Was at that point I was starting to direct. Well, that's why I want to talk about yeah. I moved to directing after years in a way. A e l wait, wait to hear you watch a business change. You go from the seventies into the blockbuster time in and now, Ok, you know what was it that made you wanted direct. I found it I found producing was becoming a bit easy Oh another challenge. I wanted something more challenging and I had a script that I thought
have been better directed than it was and which one I don't want to really say about the correct about. It was the music box Jessica Lange with nominated for academy, which is a terrific movie. I, Maybe I was jealous or something I don't know. I and I decided I'm going to do this myself and I I'm very, very interested in the blacklist. That was going. On in Hollywood in the 50s. I didn't know anything about it at all. You must have known guys that were blacklisted, not really it was like it was, when a known part of Hollywood and really nobody talked about it and I didn't know anything about it. I got interested in and I started doing research was that one great book about it was it naming naming names by Victor Navasky is a great great board So I got interesting and I said you know what I wrote the script myself.
When I said you know what I don't want to turn this over to somebody. I want to do it myself and We decided to direct it an in the book. I used. My diary, as I thought it was great to see how it actually came about and when you when you, when you re, read that diary, where you, where you could you re, live that that price yeah, it was really really, but it became sort of an obsessive check with you. You, you engaged. You know that every movie is an obsessive project. Us you never get a maid, but you're directing this. When you got more on the line, you know you. This is the end at the your new with this right. Yeah, oh yeah, but I I've lived through so much of it for all that period of time, because Actually I had another one that I was going to do. A couple of years before that desert rose yeah, where I worked on the on the script for a long time, and I was going to do it and then a good in that wreck. I cancel three days before shooting,
so what I'm obsessive about everything every movie where I directed or not, but I thought it was interesting that you know you wanted to get this right because of what it implied about the country about the business and and and how it's a cautionary tale. Yeah and- and it was frankly something that I had my name on as a director for the first time. So I really wanted to make it. I thought it was a great movie. Well, thank you yeah I have a and a and you, you know the it's interesting to read the diary in the book. A yeah. Just in terms of you know how who's going to star in this. You didn't think Dinero would do it and you get all these other options are not sure about the options. Some people he wanted, they couldn't do it. Everyone turns you down, the narrow decides to do it, but what is it that you wanted to get perfect in that 'cause they would seem to be a real struggle with the character yeah, because I felt very strongly that the Hollywood blacklist, they would call you in a government call you and say you know what you were at a party at Mark Barron. This house here and there were three or four people there that were
talking about communism and you say yeah people chatting about it. Then and what were their names, and he said But why do you want to know the names that we just talking about coming warrant comment? It's raining. Is it that's? Ok, but we want to talk to them and see what their real feelings are, and you say wait a minute if I give you their names, they're going to get blacklisted yeah and then they come back and say: well, if you don't give us the name, it means you're, not patriotic, so you must be a communist sure. Basically, there was no way out do Trumbo said there are no villains in there are no heroes, their only victims, I think the end in that. In that time, though, that was a it was a political agenda by you know a lunatic he was, but he was back by a government. Don't forget the blacklist started
by the Truman Administration, what happened is when going through a little political history when China became a communist country. The Republicans blamed. The Truman administration for allowing it to happen is if they could have stopped it right, so that room administration reaction to the republican criticism that they were Softon, Communism really was responsible for the Hollywood blacklist right right now, the the political culture of divisiveness is like it. Yet, what's the what's more troubling to me is the you know the propaganda, that's chain. You know that and the the the missing from nation, that's defining the anger of a certain faction of the country and I think in the media is very much involved in it, and then you know when you watch one form when you
Fox news. You get a sure right right, a picture of America that isn't realistic, but in terms of people being accused of things, I think it's a little different like in specifically with the with the sexual harassment is actually I mean, because that's it's it's a different sort of. I texted that I mean well yeah. What happened? Is you see? I have we victims that don't have a voice here, yeah and the victims. Have they not have a voice for the last? You know right for ever right, so I think look not everybody that went to the guillotine. In the french revolution was guilty, this is always been a couple of people right that got their head cut off right that weren't, you know sure, but that happens in any revolution sure, but I think we're going through a really interesting time. As far as the revolution is concerned, in its a good thing- and it was yeah for sure, and you did that film with Tom Berenger. That was so a kind of saw this coming in
yes, it was. I was very proud of that film. It's not very well known, it's called betrayed, with the directory. Remember its menacing very menacing, because it it takes a look at the really really tough right wing militants in America by the way they be, I think, was yesterday or day before yesterday, FBI arrested a Milton group down in Texas. They were holding yeah yeah, we're restlessly. They were here holding in silence, yes, yeah. No, I mean that you know they were there back in eighty eight, when you made that movie and now they're they're they're shameless in their dominant political vote. Yes, as not not a great evolution and we picked you, then As you know, family people, people who had great picnics in July fourth celebrations, but underneath it it was really a lot of
and let me ask you, I know you've directed a few other movies, but I wanted to talk about some of the more recent films before I lose. You hear the Wolf of Wall Street at that was tremendous. What if uh movie and energetic movie Maudie really goes goes forward, that's. The question is, like you know. Obviously, created was great, very satisfying film, but silences with difficult movie yeah. We took our slow, much twenty Jamaican, and this is a passion project. His it's very interesting that you know when you can see his his kind of mania you know and his obsession with music and editing and filmmaking improvisation. You know against you know these movies, like that, which is so of a meditator poetic movie thanks a lot. I think it should one of his best movies ever frankly, because it's very deep in his soul. It about what he believes in it's about his Catholicism and his his really beliefs and
and really where you caught up and how far does you believe, take you and are there limits to that belief and I think that's what he was examined. With that sound like I want to watch it again. You know because he he he you get a certain thing in your head when you think Martin Scorsese and yet you know and and it you really have it's a thoughtful movie, and there is time very much so now in terms of the business 'cause like I said you know in the book, he kind of break it into five parts about the evolution of the business in what's happening in the business and also, obviously, without really saying that your ability to adapt now You know when I read about what it took to make some films and you have these negotiations with actors, agents executives. Everybody directory that now the entire ability. Make. A movie is untethered from all any of that. Do you can just make it on your phone if you really want to, and people have done it so what.
Concerns about the business as it stands. Obviously, with with the Cushman you working with Netflix and you've sort of framed it in book, is being like. This is a great opportunity for one hundred and twenty five million people to see a movie, but we we just that beautiful magic. You know, got the Marvel movies in the theaters and everything else. But you're aware of that I mean what are your concerns about the filming, I think in the case of irishman- and I can't say that about other Netflix films, particularly but or specifically, but as far as Irishman who is concerned, I think the opportunity to see it in theaters is going to be available to a great many people, yeah look for a number of weeks, yeah or, and then hopefully they going to sit back on the big screen in their house and not on their phone and watch this movie, but I think basically back to the time of of home video when the
business. When I first came was in the throes of televisions, script grasp nobody, everybody predicted, nobody would go to a movie. They would why see a movie if you could see it on television at home and then it was. Why see a movie if you could have a dvd that you could put into your or actually a videotape right? Why do that? And I keep thinking about the dna of all of us, whether we're he's? The new Yorker is a London. Is Africans Julia, some guy in Tokyo, people, people anti DNA? There was man, the woman who scratched again a couple of stones and made a spark and made a fire near. So these
I almost neanderthal people who may be a little more sophisticated gathered around the fire, probably to keep warm at the time and and somebody showed up and told the story. Yeah and people sat around and came to listen to the store and one guy said. We saw that last week very good, but I think what's happened. Is people we still going to go to the theater sure they're still going to go to a movie theater they're gonna want to gather around, as you think that you know is Iris still the ice. I think it's in that DNA. I think that's part of who we are yeah and I don't think that's going to view the minute she and do you like you know, like I sometimes a missed algic for smaller media landscape, because I think it helped community in the sense it even when it was television when there were three channels yeah, everybody was sort of talking about the same thing. Now you talk about a show and people that tell him where, where it's on they don't know what that is
yeah, you know, so is that sort of white mask Margaret is ation of the business that a no it's. Not even that I think. Basically, it's the the the social climate that we live in is very, very different. I I was on playing the other day and they had everybody was watching on television screen, except they have to. Crowd was watching the same movie on their Iphone They had the biggest screen to watch right in front of them slightly bigger, yes, somewhat bigger yeah, they still watch any Iphone, but do you think it diminishes the quality or that you sent them in issues of property, we make the film for the big screen, no matter what yeah right, ready, whether whether you make it for I'm not saying that? Do you think that, like because there's so much available in that any here, there's such a hunger for content that is going to be harder for the great things that month come forward? No, great things will always come for. The talent will always persist. I think if you said to me
what is the secret of your longevity of all these years and still making really, I say it's my relationship to a and be the talent or that's one of the same, that being the they're, the actors in the script, the writer that everybody will be flocking so a really really good script. That includes the directed the actor studio, the finances, this with the theater and the audience good scripts. Will great man yeah that's a great way to end. Thank you for talking to me or thank you is great great questions and I appreciate it yeah. I know I didn't get to everything, but what a great day, what a great guy, with a great talk to some real good stories, man, good stories, Irwin Winkler's book, a life in movies stories from fifth years in Hollywood comes out. May seventh can
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-12.