July 14, 1958 |
New York City
Scott Rudin (born July 14, 1958) is an American film producer and a theatrical producer. In 2012, Rudin became one of the few people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award, and the first producer to do so.
Early life and work
Scott Rudin was born in New York City, NY, on July 14, 1958, and raised in a Jewish family in the town of Baldwin on Long Island. At the age of sixteen, he started working as an assistant to theatre producer Kermit Bloomgarden. Later, he worked for producers Robert Whitehead and Emanuel Azenberg. In lieu of attending college, Rudin took a job as a casting director and ended up starting his own company. His newly minted firm cast numerous Broadway shows, including Annie (1977) for Mike Nichols. He also cast PBS's Verna: USO Girl (1978), starring Sissy Spacek and William Hurt, and the films King of the Gypsies (1978), The Wanderers (1979), Simon (1980) with Alan Arkin and Resurrection (1980). Rudin is openly gay.
In 1980, Rudin moved to Los Angeles, taking up employment at Edgar J. Scherick Associates, where he served as producer on a variety of films including I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can (1981), the NBC miniseries Little Gloria... Happy at Last (1982) and the Oscar-winning documentary He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' (1983).
After his stint at Edgar J. Sherick Associates, Rudin formed his own outfit, Scott Rudin Productions. His first film under that banner was Gillian Armstrong's Mrs. Soffel (1984). But, not long after, Rudin placed his production shingle in dormancy and joined 20th Century-Fox as an executive producer. At Fox, he met Jonathan Dolgen, a higher-level executive, with whom he would be working once again at Paramount Pictures years later. Rudin swiftly rose through the ranks at Fox and became president of production by 1986 at the age of 29. His stint at the top of Fox was short lived though, and he soon left and entered into a producing deal with Paramount.
Paramount and Tri-Star
On August 1, 1992, at the age of 34, Rudin signed a deal with Tri-Star Pictures but soon moved back to Paramount. Rudin's first look deal with Paramount Pictures lasted nearly fifteen years, Producing pictures like Addams Family Values.
After the resignation of Paramount's chairwoman, Sherry Lansing in 2004, and nearly simultaneous departure of Jonathan Dolgen (then president of the company), Rudin left the studio and set a five-year first-look pact with Disney that allowed him to make movies under their labels Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films. Since Harvey and Bob Weinstein had left Miramax, the company they founded in 1979, Rudin felt he would be free at Disney to utilize its resources. Laura M. Holson of The New York Times wrote on April 21, 2005: "Rudin is likely to fill the gap [left by the departure of Harvey and Bob Weinstein] by providing the sort of high-quality, offbeat art films that Disney has struggled to create on its own."
When the Weinsteins were running Miramax and its sister label Dimension Films, however, Harvey Weinstein and Rudin, two of the hottest heads in Hollywood, had public confrontations during the production of The Hours (2002), which Rudin produced for Miramax Films after it became a "mini-major" studio subsidiary under Disney.
Rudin said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, "There is one shop in town [Miramax] that is making challenging movies. I think it's incredible that he [Weinstein] has found a way to run a business making these kind of movies." However, "we are both control freaks. We both want to run our own shows. When I'm doing a Miramax movie, I work for him. And I don't like that feeling. I chafe under that. I especially chafe under it when I feel that I'm on a leash."
Rudin has also been known to chafe when, by his claims, his staff "refuses to wake up" and, quite frequently, "neglects to use their heads". In the film Swimming With Sharks many rumors circulate about whom the movie mogul Buddy Ackerman, as played by Kevin Spacey is based on. One is that the character was inspired by real life movie mogul Scott Rudin.
Over the years, Rudin has produced a diverse array of films, ranging from widely distributed arthouse fare to mainstream Hollywood features. He has been responsible for films by Jack Hofsiss (I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can starring Jill Clayburgh); John Schlesinger (Pacific Heights starring Melanie Griffith, Michael Keaton and Matthew Modine); Mike Nichols (Regarding Henry starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening); and first-time directors Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate starring Foster, Diane Wiest and Adam Hann-Byrd); and Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family starring Raúl Juliá, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci). Sonnenfeld's The Addams Family became a major franchise, and Emile Ardolino's hit Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith spawned a sequel.
Rudin had a string of box-office failures in the early nineties, highlighted by White Sands (1992, with Willem Dafoe and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Jennifer 8 (1992, with Andy García and Uma Thurman) and Life with Mikey (1993). All three movies struggled among that year's competitive summer slate. However, Rudin was soon redeemed by the star-studded legal thriller The Firm (1993), which was his most profitable movie to date with a $270,248,367 worldwide gross, and Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), which garnered critical acclaim. Surprisingly, shortly before Bobby Fischer was released, Fischer himself, the renowned young chess prodigy, popped out of hiding in Yugoslavia after 20 years in seclusion. At the time, Rudin was quoted by Army Archerd of Variety as saying, "I'm not concerned [about the reemergence of Fischer]. It can only be good, to help publicize the picture... He [Fischer] is never seen in the movie—he never appears."
Subsequently, Rudin oversaw production of the romantic comedy I.Q. (1994), starring Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins; the Paul Newman film Nobody's Fool (1994); the dark horse hit Clueless (1995), a breakout movie for Alicia Silverstone; and Sydney Pollack's remake, Sabrina (1995). In 1996, he produced The First Wives Club, a hit comedy starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton. Keaton also starred alongside Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro in Marvin's Room (1996), a film that also featured a young Leonardo DiCaprio playing an emotionally disturbed boy. Both were produced by Rudin. Later in '96, Rudin teamed with producer Brian Grazer on Ron Howard's Ransom, which starred Mel Gibson, Rene Russo and Gary Sinise. Grazer had to get an exemption from his deal at Universal Pictures to join Rudin on that project, which has been the only movie the two powerhouse producers have worked on together.
Along with Robert Redford, Rudin also co-produced Steven Zaillian's adaptation of Jonathan Harr's non-fiction book A Civil Action (1998), starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall. In the movie, the two stars play opposing lawyers, who represent the residents of Woburn, Mass., on the one hand, and the multi-million dollar corporations, Beatrice Foods and Grace Industries, on the other. The film dramatizes events of the lawsuit, which produced the largest environmental out-of-court settlement in Massachusetts history, at a total of $69.4 million.
Through the nineties, Rudin was a prolific producer, putting together movies that include the following: In & Out (1997), starring Kevin Kline; the hit movie, The Truman Show (1998), with Jim Carrey; the Matt Stone and Trey Parker-developed movies, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Team America: World Police (2004); Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead (1999); Sleepy Hollow (1999), with Johnny Depp; Wonder Boys (2000), starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire, based on the award-winning novel by Michael Chabon; Shaft (2000), the remake with Samuel L. Jackson; the hit comedy, Zoolander (2001), starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; three of Wes Anderson's arthouse, ensemble-cast hits The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007); the well-received Jack Black starrer School of Rock (2003); Orange County (2002) written by School of Rock writer, Mike White; The Manchurian Candidate (2004) with Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber; Richard Eyre's Iris (2001), starring Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent, the latter of whom won an Oscar for his supporting role in the film; The Stepford Wives (2004), starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Bette Middler; M. Night Shyamalan's The Village (2004), with Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver; David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees (2004), with Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts ; Mike Nichols' Closer (2004), starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts; Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), starring Jim Carey, Jude Law and Meryl Streep (2004); Freedomland (2006), with Samuel L. Jackson; and Failure to Launch (2006), starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey; among many others.
His most recent films include 2006's Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench and based on the best-selling book What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal; Venus, starring Peter O'Toole; and The Queen, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, a role that won her an Oscar for Best Actress. O'Toole and Dench were also nominated for Oscars in the 2006–2007 season for their leading roles in their respective films. Only Mirren won. Notes on a Scandal received three other Oscar nominations: Blanchett for supporting role, Patrick Marber for Best Adapted Screenplay and Philip Glass Academy Award for Best Original Score. Most notably, The Queen was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, along with Stephen Frears for Best Director, and Peter Morgan for Best Original Screenplay. He will possibly take part in Paramount Pictures' 2009 musical remake of Footloose starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, and Dennis Quaid.
Rudin developed adaptations of the novels The Corrections, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and Blood Meridian. He recently produced the following projects, among many others: The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the best-selling novel of the same name and starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana; Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, with Anna Paquin; Wes Anderson's picture, Fantastic Mr. Fox based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name and starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and Jason Schwartzman; The David Fincher-directed screenplay by Aaron Sorkin about the formation of Facebook, The Social Network, and in development is David Gordon Green's The Goat; an untitled Alan Ball project.
Rudin is also currently in the early production stages of an adaptation of the upcoming Ben Mezrich book Sex on the Moon, which follows the true story of NASA interns Thad Roberts and Tiffany Fowler as they scheme to steal and make love among a collection of lunar rocks locked away in the Houston Space Center in 2002. The book is set for publishing in February 2011.
In January 2008, two of Rudin's productions—the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, which they adapted from the Cormac McCarthy book of the same name, and Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, which was adapted from the Upton Sinclair novel, Oil! – were nominated for eight Oscars apiece at the 2008 Academy Awards, including a Best Picture nod for each of them. The two films shared the distinction of being the most nominated movie at that year's Oscar ceremony. Ultimately, No Country for Old Men won the Best Picture prize.
At the 2011 Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards, Scott Rudin became the only person ever to be nominated twice in one year. He was nominated (along with Dana Brunetti, Ceán Chaffin and Michael De Luca) for producing the Facebook biographical film The Social Network and was also nominated (along with Joel and Ethan Coen) for their remake of the classic western True Grit (2010). That same year, the PGA also awarded Rudin the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures which recognizes an individual's outstanding body of work in the field of motion picture production.
Rudin also continues to produce for the theatre. He co-produced the unsuccessful staging of David Henry Hwang's Face Value with Stuart Ostrow and Jujamcyn Theaters. He started a deal with Jujamcyn to develop and produce new plays for the theater chain. In 1994, Rudin won Best Musical Tony Award for his production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion. The following year, he, along with others, produced Kathleen Turner's Broadway comeback, Indiscretions, and Ralph Fiennes New York theatre debut in Hamlet. In 1996, Rudin produced the revival of the Stephen Sondheim and Larry Gelbart musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which starred Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella and Mark Linn-Baker.
He also produced The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?, Seven Guitars, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Copenhagen, Deuce, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The History Boys, Beckett/Albee, Closer, The Blue Room, and Doubt. In 2010, he co-produced, along with Carole Shorenstein Hays, the Broadway revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, which garnered ten Tony Award nominations and three wins, including Best Revival of a Play. He has won five Tonys and five Drama Desk Awards for his productions.
- Weiss, Philip (December 26, 1993). "Hollywood at a Fever Pitch". The New York Times.
- "Scott Rudin Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved February 25, 2008
- "Scott Rudin – Biography". Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- Rudin leaving Paramount to join Disney – International Herald Tribune
- Movie & TV News @ IMDb.com – Studio Briefing – 5 March 2003
- Archerd, Army (August 18, 1992). "Reel-life Woody-Mia marriage looks familiar". Variety.
- Archerd, Army (July 25, 1995). "Helmer's story makes for bizarre '2 Days'". Variety.
- Archerd, Army (January 23, 2011). "The Social Network creator to tell true story of crime, sex... and moon rocks". The Observer.
- Scott Rudin sets record for Producers Guild nods
- PGA Honors Scott Rudin with 2011 David O. Selznick Achievement Award
- Scott Rudin at the Internet Movie Database
- Scott Rudin Productions at the Internet Movie Database
- Scott Rudin at the Internet Broadway Database
- More Out Power Brokers, The Advocate, Sep 30, 2003