“This is a business of disappointment. Far more people survive brain surgery than survive making films.” So said “Nightcrawler” director Dan Gilroy at the just concluded Producers Guild “Produced By” conference in Los Angeles. He was on a panel moderated by noted veteran producer Charles Roven and it was aptly put.
Savvy Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon spoke, at a panel moderated by Will Packer, with her producing partner Bruna Papandrea; they optioned “Gone Girl,” which originally was turned down by every studio. Reese encouraged women in the biz and she told the producer crowd that she does not suffer industry fools gladly. She gets annoyed when she takes meetings with people that haven’t read the book or script that they were supposed to. “Hey,” Reese explained, “ you got me sitting here now, but you’re not going to get me again, and I don’t meet with them again.”
Reese also revealed that she has been asked a couple of times to play Hillary Clinton and when she met her, Hillary said, “Every talks to me about Tracy Flick in “Election.”
Director Lee Daniels, one of the “Empire” creative team that spoke on a panel moderated by Pete Hammond, was straight up with his take. Daniels pulled no punches when he explained “Homophobia is real in the African-American community, and we will continue to do our thing until homophobia is done.”
Daniels also revealed that he and show star Jussie Smollett have both received death threats for their portrayal of an African-American gay man in hip-hop. Co- creator Danny Strong explained how he got the idea for the show, “I wanted to combine King Lear and hip-hop.” Executive Producer Brian Grazer then chimed in, “ I know a lot about hip-hop, not much about King Lear.” Danny then added, “It’s a modern day soap opera, along the lines of “Dynasty” and “Dallas.”