Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Kid Really Does Stay in the Picture: Producer Robert Evans Leaves Paramount After 45 Years, Friends Say He’s Got a Lot of Projects


Robert Evans has left the building.

After 45 years– the longest deal in Hollywood history– the famed producer of “The Godfather” has come to the end of his deal with Paramount Pictures. His fabled office– which he hadn’t seen in years, anyway– is all gone.

But Evans, eternally young at 89, is not retiring. He’s not interested. A close friend says, “He’s almost relieved. There were so many things he wanted to do and his hands were tied by the deal. Now he’s very upbeat about getting something done outside.”

Evans is well known for his memoir, “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” and the documentary that was based upon it. Last year, a theatrical version played in London’s West End. Now it’s being retooled for a Broadway run. So make no mistake: this kid always stays in the picture.

The Paramount deal went through many generations. But a friend says that “when Brad Grey died, things changed.” Indeed, after Grey’s death, there was uncertainty at the studio. New president Jim Gianopolous is said to be a fan. But Viacom’s Sherry Redstone, daughter of ancient Sumner Redstone, is said to have been the one to end the longest relationship in Hollywood history.

As head of production at Paramount in the late 60s and early 70, Evans had 17 hits now considered classics including “The Godfather,” “Harold and Maude,” and “The Odd Couple.”

Continuing as a producer on his own, Evans’ credits include “Chinatown,” “Urban Cowboy,” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” his last film in 2003.

So why not retire? “Retire?!” his friend (not Evans, really just a good source) exclaimed. “Why? He doesn’t want to.”

If there’s a great Hollywood ending here, I want to see one more terrific film produced by Robert Evans. We all deserve it.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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