A producer, do you find you have a set formula for creating success, or would you say it’s more instinctive?
Yeah, I think a lot of it is definitely instinctive. I trust my instincts and they’ve fared me well, so far. I’ve been very fortunate to have a great career in this business; I’m very proud of it. I don’t think it’s changed in terms of me trusting my instincts. But the business is constantly evolving, and I have to be able to be malleable and evolve with that. And that has to do with the way that I think about how we make films – from telling narratives to the distribution method for those films. But at the end of the day, I think you hit on the fact that it’s still very intuitive in terms of the projects that I select, versus those that I don’t, and those that I choose to be a part of. I always think about the audience first, who am I making this for and who would truly enjoy this project.
Speaking of the audience, has the rise of streaming impacted how you tell stories?
I don’t think so. I think I’m are making projects for a particular platform in mind, right? We always thought of Beast as a theatrical film. You have an end medium in mind when you’re making a film – I think that that’s important. But I also think that you have to be malleable. You have to be willing to make content for where your audience is. And I think the audience dictates that, not filmmakers and not Hollywood Studios. They control where their time, energy, and resources go. So as filmmakers, we have to be willing to make a variety of projects. I think there’s nothing wrong with having a particular medium in mind for initial distribution. But you know, the audience is the audience, and they find good content that they want to see.
You filmed Beast out in South Africa. Was that always what you wanted to do?
We talked about some other locations, that probably would have been easier – definitely in terms of getting there and having a little more of the creature comforts that we’re used to having on movie sets. But I will tell you that was nothing like shooting in South Africa. It was incredible. It was a challenging shoot, but it was well worth it – being in that environment and being able to showcase the beauty of the motherland. In a film like this, where we’ve got obviously a big CGI element in the lion, but everything else being authentic, I think is huge and goes a long way towards the audience’s experience of feeling this and it feels like an organic backdrop for this type of movie, not just a CGI lion against a green screen. African savannah; we didn’t want to make that up.