Thursday, January 04, 2007

Another Titanic Struggle Over Producing Credits

One of the producers on "Crash" JUST finished his final attempt to get an official credit and thus an Oscar for working on the film. And just as last year's struggles end, this year's struggles begin. Brad Grey of Paramount has just lost the first round in his attempt to get a producing credit on Martin Scorsese's "The Departed." The Oscars are always leery of letting studio execs get a producing credit on films. But Grey was clearly a major player on the preproduction of the film. He was the key exec involved in getting the remake rights to "Infernal Affairs," he helped nab the screenwriter, he sent the script to Scorsese and he helped negotiate deals for Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Both Scorsese and the accredited producer sent letters of support saying Grey deserved the credit. But I think they're wrong. How many studio execs could claim similar work -- "helping" to secure remake rights and a screenwriter, sending the script to top directors like Scorsese and Spielberg and being involved in bringing on top stars. That's what studio executives DO, for heaven's sake. If you want to be a producer on an individual film, you have to leave your job at the studio and work on it from beginning to end. Otherwise, you'd have every exec in Hollywood claiming a credit on every movie, just like Elvis used to demand co-songwriting credit it you wanted him to record your tune. What movie could ever get made WITHOUT a studio exec getting a producer credit?

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