Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
From Larry on down, trashing the Ellisons seems to have become one of San Francisco’s favorite pastimes. But daughter–cum–Hollywood hotshot producer Meg Ellison isn’t deserving of the dissing. She’s making good movies—movies you actually want to see. And with 15 producing credits (from True Grit to Spring Breakers) and a Best Picture Oscar nomination (Zero Dark Thirty) already under her belt at the tender age of 27, she’s positioned to become the next Harvey Weinstein or Scott Rudin.
This season Ellison is putting the money toward what may be the year’s biggest movie: American Hustle (out December 13), a darkly comic, true-life tale of Abscam, with Bradley Cooper as a rogue FBI agent who recruits a pair of con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) to take down some dirty pols. And it’s more than just jam-packed with A-listers—its script was on Hollywood’s prestigious Black List and considered one of the best unproduced screenplays in town. Granted, this is writer-director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter), who took the hot script, then completely reworked it to his own designs. Word is that Russell has made magic—and if that’s true, it’s because Ellison gave him the freedom that he needed to pull it off.
But not all of Ellison’s flicks that were supposed to come out in time for Oscars created the necessary buzz. Her, Spike Jonze’s futuristic romance with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, and Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller’s follow-up to Moneyball, chronicling the murder of an Olympic wrestler by a Du Pont heir, both pushed their releases to the new year. Will they all make money? God, no. But even if every single one of her titles flops, Ellison’ll still have the funds to produce more—until the sun burns out.