Monday, November 16, 2009

Help us find an actor

This week I am blasting (in Shirley's expressions) to at least 50 distributors and producers as a Hail Mary play (my old football expression) to convince them that Travel Day is indeed worth it. I'm also updating the handful of potential investors we've had for the last 3 months.

We also are looking for your help.

We've added one new element this week, a famous actress who we're hoping to interest in playing the lead role. As I've mentioned in the past, lead roles for women over 40 and who aren't offered mother or grandmother roles are few and far between. Even Winona Ryder is playing a mother these days.

We think we have a great role for a woman leaning towards 60. If you can't think of any actress in the 50's - 60-ish  range, how about these:

Diane Keaton
Faye Dunaway
Jane Fonda
Jacqueline Bisset
Meryl Streep 
Susan Sarandon
Glenn Close
Sally Field
Jessica Lange
Catherine Deneuve
Helen Mirren
Lauren Hutton
Sophia Loren

and of course...Cher.

Which one would you pick?

This is where you come in. I want you to choose one of the above, or even a new choice not on the boards yet.  Why? Because you're the audience and we want to know who you'd prefer. You can leave your suggestion(s) in a comment or email me directly by going to  my "About me" profile, my email is right there.

One thing that was spelled out numerous times at AFM was this; there is a shortage of good films and whatever you make, it will need a "name actor" that is recognizable not only in U.S. and Canada, but world-wide. So this probably eliminates most of the younger TV actors.

What or who is a "name actor".

After excluding anyone younger than 40, you have quite an impressive list. Matt Damon is 39, Will Smith is 41, Johnny Depp is 49. Same goes for women as noted above. They are all considered name actors in that their movies are seen all over the world. Michael Madsen, on the other hand, is not a name actor due to the fact he's been in too many bad movies that were distributed mostly outside of the USA, and he has been overexposed.

The trick is to get to the actors you want. We tried it before with Faye Dunaway through someone who "knew Faye quite well". That is until that "close friend", Casandra, stopped emailing me for some unknown reason.

Shirley has been thinking more about other actors as have I and I, being the producer, has the job of trying to connect with one or more of the above. The problem is this: If we go through an agent,  he/she will ask 2 simple questions:

  • Is the movie fully funded? They don't want to waste their time, nor their client's time if we're still looking for money. Which we are. Because we need a name to get the rest of the money. Catch 22. This business is full of Catch 22's.

  • Is this a valid offer? Same as above, are we actually offering the part to this actress? Well, not really, we're "considering" her which again is something an agent doesn't like.  But we're not sure our choice will be the distributor's choice or the investor's choice. Another catch.

  • "Our client gets $300,000 for her role." Assuming we make an offer, I have to remember one thing, the agent's job is to get the best price they can. How do you figure that one out. 
Well, fortunately the standard practicefor the last one  is to go by the last job that actor had. The trick is to find out what they really made as agents lie through their teeth. We had one very famous actress whose last job on a TV show paid her $875 a day for 3 days. That's SAG minimum scale, the fee starting actors get. But a job is a job. Yet the agent would probably ask for $300,000 or more.

I mentioned distributors above. Why are their choices considered? Because they know who will sell in foreign territories and who is this year's flavor.  Cher is always hot, Glenn Close necessarily isn't. There's actually a star value system that is done by Hollywood Reporter and goes by movie grosses and matches them with particular stars. Hollywood Reporter is one of the 2 big industry daily magazines, the other being Variety.

The "Star Chart" is purchased for around $20 or so and used to be included in the weekly edition but not any more. The trouble with it is that, by the time the chart has been completed, it's out of date. All it needs too change the hottest #1 actor, is that his or her last movie flopped.
Remember that old saying, "why do you think they call it show business. 

Now you know why.

So it's gonna be a big week of work. And I have to hurry because Thanksgiving is approaching fast and after that Christmas. Meaning all the big guys are once again...

... off to Aspen.

Don't forget to email or leave a comment on your choice of actresses. 


  1. Helen Mirren, Goldie Hawn, Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Jessica Lange

  2. I know she's not on the list, but...

    Julie Christie.

  3. Didn't include her because she did her oscar movie last year, Away From Here, a Canadian film actually very good. But she would be great, very close to Bisset in terms of star power.

  4. If you get Helen Mirren, whom I suggested before, you will draw more named actors who would die to work with her; not so for the rest of them.