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The Spawn Of Larry

Jonathan Kiefer | December 7, 2012 | Lifestyle Story Culture

Company: Skydance Productions, possibly named for his interest in aerobatic flying, or maybe a mashup of “Skywalker” and “Sundance”

Big picture of the month: Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie’s Jack Reacher, about a Special Forces veteran taking justice into his own hands

WTF picture of the month: The Guilt Trip, in which inventor Seth Rogan and his mom (Barbra “your worst Nightmare” Streisand) hit the road to sell his latest idea

Other high-profile projects: Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, the upcoming World War Z, and Star Trek into Darkness

Recipients of largesse: Brad Pitt, G.I. Joe stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Channing Tatum, director J.J. Abrams

Filmmaking philosophy: Prefers “tent-pole action, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy films” along with a few comedies (Skydance site); raised $350 million to create a “media company 2.0,” but insists that Skydance will never be “just a checkbook” (Los Angeles Times)

Odd penchants: Stories involving airplanes (his acting credits include the 2006 bomb Flyboys); blockbusters starring Tom Cruise

Media scuttlebutt: Offered Taylor Lautner $7.5 million to costar in yet another flying flick, Northern Lights, only to have the deal blow up “because [Ellison] had written himself a big role as an actor and pilot” (Deadline Hollywood)

Oscar bait: Hit the jackpot with 2010’s True Grit (coproduced with Megan), but his current slate couldn’t be less academy-friendly

Company: Annapurna Pictures, named for the Himalayan mountain where she went hiking after dropping out of film school in 2005

Big picture of the month: Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, about the Special Forces team that took out Osama bin Laden

WTF Picture of the month: The Grandmasters, the Hong Kong–made story of Ip Man, the martial arts master who trained Bruce Lee (release date via IMBD)

Other high-profile projects: The Master, Lawless, the upcoming Terminator 5

Recipients of largesse: Auteur-directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, David O. Russell, Wong Kar-wai, and Bennett Miller

Filmmaking philosophy: Likes sophisticated fare deemed too adventurous for risk-averse studios, which she supports “with a spirit more akin to the freewheeling world of technology start-ups than a film industry entering its second century” (New York Times)

Odd penchants: Redheaded A-list actresses (Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain); random tweets from Oxford’s Quotations (E.E. Cummings, Jack London, Bertrand Russell, Tupac Shakur, Winnie the Pooh)

Media scuttlebutt: “The most powerful new producer in Hollywood” (Los Angeles Times); “an Ayn Rand–quoting, luxury-car-driving, martini-sipping patron of the arts” with “more money in the bank than any of her movies will cost (or probably gross)” (Jezebel)

Oscar bait: With all those projects jam-packed with critical darlings, expect at least a few nominations come January

Originally published in the December 2012 issue of San Francisco.

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