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Thought of You Producer on Anne Hathaway, Crash and the Hollywood Crunch

Thought of You Producer on Anne Hathaway, Crash and the Hollywood Crunch

Cathy Schulman has to actually like one thing if she’s going to even attempt to get it made. As an impartial producer in an more and more constrained market, truly filming one thing is an elusive endgame. “Within the outdated days, producers would flip a guide to studio or a community and say, ‘Will you purchase it for me, develop it and make it right into a film?’” says Schulman, who optioned Robinne Lee’s novel The Thought of You alongside fellow producer Gabrielle Union years earlier than ever presenting it to a swimsuit. “That wasn’t going to work right here.”

Luckily, Anne Hathaway‘s curiosity within the romantic dramedy a couple of single mom who embarks on an unlikely relationship with the lead singer of a boy band (Nicholas Galitzine) helped be sure that Schulman’s efforts weren’t in useless. Amazon MGM Studios boarded the challenge in 2021, and it’s now streaming on Prime Video and showing in choose theaters. Over Zoom in April, Schulman spoke about making her newest characteristic, appeared again on a few of her extra notable credit (Crash), supplied her takes on Hollywood’s present aversion to inexperienced lights and mentioned the Oscars’ 10 greatest image nominees mandate — the latter of which she actually isn’t a fan.

Not realizing how a lot this film price, it actually feels just like the type of mid-budget film we don’t get a lot of today. How’d you get to a inexperienced gentle?

The extra that my profession goes on, the extra I’ve realized that I actually need to tackle an enormous quantity of threat and develop initiatives internally for a great very long time. Then, by the point I’m going out to {the marketplace}, I’m asking an organization to make the film and never develop it. On one hand, that makes for a really non-controversial growth interval as a result of I’m my very own boss. Then again, what if you happen to do all that work and don’t truly promote it? For this, since we went to Amazon with the script developed and Anne already hooked up, the trail from there wasn’t tough.

Inform me about getting Anne Hathaway on board.

I pictured her from the start, and we tried to put in writing the script to her — channel her power within the character. Regardless that I all the time say to my workers, “If there’s one factor we by no means ought to do, it’s develop for a single actor. As a result of we’ll by no means get that actor.” Getting her was type of a miracle. However she had talked about to me that she wished to do a film that would loudly announce that she’s 40 and right here to remain. She will nonetheless sparkle, nonetheless be sensual and sexual and the whole lot. And we did shoot it within the 12 months she was turning 40.

Do you consider this as a rom-com? 

Nicely, Amazon calls it a “romance seeker,” this style they’ve. We name it a rom-com-drama.

Nonetheless, there’s been a renewed curiosity within the rom-com of late. How a lot have been you excited about this servicing that style in a brand new manner?

Very a lot. Once I learn the guide, the truth that we have been principally coping with a rom-com is what received my curiosity. And on this specific case, the girl was not selecting between two males — which is the norm. She’s selecting between totally different variations of happiness. She was both going to self-actualize for the weekend in a yurt, or she was going to open herself as much as love and journey. I actually preferred the truth that both model would’ve been OK. Personally, after I was studying the guide, I used to be like, “I’d decide the yurt for positive.”

The Thought of You appears to have been buoyed by nice phrase of mouth, out of South by Southwest of all locations. Trying again, what different initiatives stunned you when it comes to response?

Crash stunned me most. It was the little engine that would. That was a film that I couldn’t get financed inside the system at any firm. It went totally completed to the movie competition in Toronto, and no person purchased it. And it discovered its manner in any case of that. That we made it for $7 million, earned $100 million and gained an Academy Award — a number of of them, truly — that was a shocker for positive. 

What’s your relationship with the people who find themselves crucial of the legacy of that greatest image win?

Nicely, I don’t know that I’ve a relationship with any of them as a result of nobody’s ever stated it to my face. (Laughs). I believe they’ve an aversion to melodrama, an aversion to soapiness. It’s the identical folks that criticize Yellowstone. I’m an enormous Shakespeare fan, and the whole lot he ever did was melodrama, proper? I don’t know when melodrama or excessive emotional drama turned uncool, however I simply don’t consider that. I hold seeing it work time and time once more for audiences. I believe we like to be moved from tears to laughter in excessive sweeps. I’m drawn to materials like that, and other people all the time inform me that I’m gutter diving. That’s what I take into consideration that. Possibly it was additionally a bit little bit of backlash to having a film be about racism. Once I tried to get it made, I saved being instructed that racism was “passé.” 

I used to be in a gathering a pair years in the past and an unnamed government went right into a rant about why the film we have been engaged on needed to be higher or else it was going to be a one-hit surprise like Crash  — completely forgetting that I had produced it. It was actually humorous to listen to this rant about all of the the explanation why Crash was a film that’s thought-about good however isn’t good. Like, it should’ve been bizarre confluence of occasions that made that film win the Academy Award — besides it was an unimaginable 12 months for films! It was Brokeback Mountain, Stroll the Line [which was not nominated for best picture], Goodnight and Good Luck, Munich. And there have been solely 5 film slots for greatest image then.

What do you consider the mandate for 10 greatest image nominees?

I don’t prefer it. I’m pleased to be open about that as a result of I don’t consider you’ll be able to have 10 slots for greatest image and solely 5 for administrators. That’s terrible. To know that there are 5 administrators each single 12 months who direct films that can be nominees for greatest image and can’t be nominated themselves? It’s so brutally screwed up for a corporation that’s intending to acknowledge our artistry. That concept was to strive to herald extra viewership by together with larger movies, however I simply don’t assume that algorithm works. And I don’t know of a 12 months when 10 films are distinctive sufficient to face out. It makes the whole lot much less. I believe it ought to return to 5.

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in The Thought of You.

Amazon Studios

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Going again to the dangers of being a producer, you’ve been at this some time. Are folks exaggerating after they discuss how dangerous issues are in Hollywood proper now? 

It’s the worst I’ve seen. I nonetheless have lots of optimism that it’ll bounce again as a result of I do consider that this entire endeavor of filmed content material is type of just like the crocus within the snow. It all the time pokes its head out a method or one other — even when it’s getting smushed — however the contraction and consolidation are important. The strikes have been far more damaging than anticipated. What’s all the time regarding in a time like this, when issues get tough economically, is the conservatism of decision-making that tends to come back again. Individuals need to take fewer dangers, do what they’ve carried out earlier than. The factor we by no means appear to be taught is that then once we do this copycatting, it backfires. The viewers rejects it. 

Extra optimistically, what lesson did you’re taking from the success of The Girl King?

I used to be actually excited to be a part of the primary studio film to star an ensemble of dark-skinned Black girls. That was an enormous achievement. Getting that inexperienced gentle was essentially the most momentous factor to me. And I really like that individuals love the film. Economically, I want it had carried out even higher than it did. It did very properly in the US, however I want it had carried out higher internationally. The true signal of success for The Girl King could be in the event that they green-light one other film prefer it.

How did you find yourself writing and showrunning the Showtime miniseries, The First Woman? You had no prior writing credit.

It was my first day trip of the proverbial closet. I’ve all the time been the type of producer who does lots of intensive writing work with my writers and fairly often writes into scripts — so long as they’re snug with it. On First Woman, we have been assembly Gary Levine and Kevin Beggs, who have been operating Showtime and Lionsgate Tv. They complimented a selected scene, and my writing associate Aaron Cooley stated, “Simply praise Cathy on that one. She wrote it.” There was this mic drop second the place each studio heads stated, “Are you within the Writers Guild?” Uh, no? (Laughs.) 

At what level did you be a part of the WGA?

That day, after they instructed me I needed to. What’s humorous is that through the strike, there was this false impression that writers have been hanging in opposition to producers — as a result of that ridiculous group is known as the AMPTP. It ought to be the AMPTC as a result of it’s not an affiliation of producers. It’s an affiliation of firms. Individuals have been like, “How might you be so imply to writers?” I felt just like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz! But it surely was actually fascinating as a result of I might go to the Writers Guild conferences and listen to all their complaints as a result of I’m now one in every of these individuals who is each.

It’s wild that the present got here out solely two years in the past, and Showtime principally doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s tragic. I really like Showtime. It technically nonetheless exists underneath new administration, however the idea’s gone.

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