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  • Chris Lofing Returns to NYFA to Screen Debut Horror Film ‘The Gallows’

    Every low-budget horror filmmaker’s dream is to have his or her work seen by producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, Whiplash). In the case of New York Film Academy alumnus Chris Lofing, this dream was transformed into something even bigger than he could have imagined. On July 10, his debut feature The Gallows, co-written and co-directed by Travis Cluff and produced by Jason Blum, will be released nationwide and in over 50 countries.

    Chris and Travis gave New York Film Academy’s students a sneak preview of The Gallows, and discussed their movie’s journey from a micro budget to 2,700 screens.

    In 2010, the future horror auteurs met while making Chris’s NYFA thesis film. This wildly ambitious project had a tight budget, necessitating Chris’s shooting in the more affordable city of Fresno. A call for stuntmen led to his meeting Travis Cluff, a recent champion on ABC’s Wipeout. Soon after their first collaboration, Chris and Travis discovered they were perfect teammates and created their own company, Tremendum Pictures.

    For several years Chris and Travis produced commercials and industrials, but always had an eye on making feature films. Inspired by a tragic high school tale Chris heard from his father, The Gallows was born. The plot (no spoilers, we promise): Several years ago, a high school student named Charlie was killed in a horrific accident during a performance of The Gallows. Cut to present day and the school is resurrecting the failed play in an attempt to commemorate the tragedy. When a few students break in one night to stop the production, they discover that Charlie’s “performance” is far from over.

    Embracing the found-footage style employed in films like Paranormal Activity, Travis and Chris have created a horror film which is scary and remarkably grounded, featuring a cast that comes off as real high-schoolers trapped in a truly horrific situation. Chris and Travis explained that they did not write a traditional script, but instead used an outline, which allowed the actors to better inhabit their roles and sell the film’s realism.

    When Travis and Chris initially shot their film, they could afford only one location: a beautifully gothic theater in Fresno. Once they posted their trailer on Youtube, people in Hollywood began to take notice and the calls came rolling in. The Weinstein Brothers reached out, along with Management 360. Suddenly the filmmakers who were by their own description “sleeping in their van” while visiting LA were a hot commodity. All of which culminated in a meeting with the modern day godfather of low budget horror, Jason Blum. The producer hosted a screening of their film that was met with a rapturous response. Realizing they had the potential for a wide release, the filmmakers (now teamed with Blumhouse Productions) went back to work.

    With a larger – though still minute – budget, the filmmakers could now shoot scenes in an actual high school. The crew got a little bigger, but the do-it-yourself attitude remained the same. However, one major change occurred in the recasting of a principal role, which necessitated filming most of the movie a second time. With every new cut, the filmmakers realized there was still more they could do and continued to shoot more material.

    eric conner

    Dean of Students Eric Conner with the filmmakers and his students

    Once the film was finalized, New Line & Warner Bros. came on board to distribute The Gallows. As the directors explained, The Gallows is the lowest budget movie to ever receive such a wide opening weekend release.

    Chris said the work he did at NYFA in directing so many different projects and having to be a “do-it-yourself” filmmaker gave him the preparation needed to get The Gallows made. After riding his bike every day next to Warner Bros. en route to school, he’s now got the privilege of seeing his own movie’s poster adorning the Warner Bros wall.

    July 9, 2015 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3741

  • Oscar Winning Actor J.K. Simmons Visits NYFA

    jk simmons

    Academy-Award Winning Actor J.K. Simmons

    New York Film Academy students gathered in a theater at Warner Bros. Studios this past week for a special screening of Whiplash followed by a Q&A with this year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons. Jonathan Kimble (“J. K.” Simmons) is known for his roles as Dr. Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order (and other Law & Order franchise series), neo-Nazi Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama series Oz, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope on the TNT series The Closer, J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and the voices of Cave Johnson in the 2011 puzzle game Portal 2 and Tenzin in The Legend of Korra. Simmons’s performance as music instructor Terence Fletcher in Whiplash (2014) received universal acclaim and earned him more than 30 accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award. Producer Tova Laiter moderated the discussion.

    To anyone who’s seen Whiplash, the memory of J.K. Simmons’ role as Fletcher, the music conservatory instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a promising young drummer’s potential, is burned into their memory. Soon after the credits finished rolling, and the man who had just captured the students’ attention so intensely on screen appeared in the flesh and took the stage, the whole theater immediately erupted into cheers and applause during a standing ovation. It was interesting to see how much of a contrast the terrifyingly sadistic Fletcher was to the real man behind the role. J.K. was upbeat, jovial, and having the students laughing in stitches with his endless stream of quips. He was as appreciative to be there as the student’s were to see him and even though the line of students waiting to ask questions stretched to the back of the theater and nearly out the door, J.K. stayed until every last question was answered.

    J.K. talked about the incredibly fateful circumstances surrounding the Whiplash feature. Director Damien Chazelle wrote the part of the student drummer Andrew for Miles Teller not knowing at all the the actor had been a drummer since the age of 15. What’s more, when Damien first approached J.K. about playing the part of music instructor Fletcher, he assured him that there would be a music technical advisor on set and that they could use a body double for difficult orchestral scenes. As it turned out, however, Mr. Simmons studied music in college. “I thought I was going to be Leonard Bernstein when I grew up, but I took a few left turns…” J.K. jokingly said. “It was just all meant to be.”

    Elaborating more on the making of the film that changed his life forever, Mr. Simmons explained that when he first met Damien Chazelle the director was only 26 years old. However, despite Damien’s lack of experience, the two immediately clicked as J.K. saw the genius within the young director. Within 10 minutes of working together on the Whiplash short film, Simmon’s and Chazella knew they would be working together on the feature version. Simmon’s also had a comfortable, creatively exciting relationship with actor Miles Teller on set. Even though the tension between them was high on screen, the two would joke around together between takes on set. This was also due to the relaxed environment Damien created on set which allowed for experimentation from the actors. An interesting fact about the young music students from the various college bands in the film was that, aside from a few, they were composed of real student musicians, not actors. And during the filming the bands were actually creating real music!

    jk at nyfa

    While reminiscing on the long road that took him to where he is now J.K. said, “When I look back it almost seems like I had a plan. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and doing what I really enjoy doing… When I was scrapping by and making ends meet, I didn’t have a wife and kids and any responsibilities… In my case, the level of success, acclaim, attention I’ve gotten more and more of in the last decade or so, if that had happened when I was 25 years old I would not have been prepared creatively, personally in any way.”

    March 23, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 5191

  • New Line To Give Shaft Another Shot

    Shaft

    New Line Cinemas, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. entertainment, has acquired the rights 1970s class Shaft and are planning to reboot the franchise.

    John Davis has been pulled on board for producing, but that is all that is known so far in the early stages of this project.

    This isn’t the first reboot for the brand. Samuel L. Jackson starred in a Shaft film 15 years ago, acting as the nephew of the original detective portrayed by Richard Roundtree.

    It is unclear what the new storyline will be, as no screenwriting has taken place yet. Whether the film will continue down the family tree or revert back to the original character is still to be seen. But one thing is almost certain: the original theme song, which may be more iconic than the character, is sure to make an appearance:

    With black inequality in film taking center stage as an issue in the last few years, and a wealth of actors to choose from to star in the leading roll, it will be interesting to see who is chosen to revive the brand.

    This could certainly be a major opportunity for whoever is chosen, especially if New Line decides that to turn this into a franchise series. For that to happen, however, the initial film will have to be a success.

    February 19, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 1783

  • ‘Jetsons’ Movie is a Go

    JetsonsJane! Green-light this crazy thing! That’s right, everyone’s favorite animated space family is coming to the big screen—again—Warner Brothers announced this week. They last hit theaters with a feature-length movie in 1990, after two rebooted seasons in the mid 1980s. The original two seasons of the hit Hanna-Barbera show about George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Rosie and Astro first aired in 1962, after the smash success of 1960’s The Flintstones. A working-class family in the Stone Age resonated with mid-century Americans, so on the heels of President Kennedy’s moon initiative, it only made sense to write a Space Age comedy next.

    Warner Brothers previously tried to bring a live-action version of The Jetsons in 2012, but the project never gained traction. The new project is said to be animated, though the company has yet to specify whether it will be hand-drawn or computer animated. Given that even traditionally hand-drawn properties as Peanuts are getting the CG treatment, it’s a good bet to say The Jetsons will also follow suit.

    Matt Lieberman, a Disney upstart who has been making huge waves with his high-concept spec scripts, has been drafted to write the feature-length screenplay for the cosmic family. Lieberman previously scripted Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief and is currently writing the anticipated reboot of 80s hit Short Circuit. The Jetsons will probably not make it to screens until at least 2017.

    January 27, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 1859

  • How Important is Publicity for a Film?

    Tara SmythOn September 2, Warner Bros. International Publicity maven Tara Smyth swung by New York Film Academy‘s Business of Screenwriting II class to illuminate students on what it takes to be a studio publicist.

    Smyth spoke first about how she broke into Publicity. She was working as a development intern at Village Roadshow (a financier with a first look deal at Warners), and got the opportunity to work the premiere of one of their upcoming releases — the motorcycle Ice Cube action’er Torque. “Something clicked,” Tara explained, “I realized all the buzz around promoting a film, the premiere, the press, the anticipation and excitement, this is where I wanted to be…”

    With over a decade of experience working at Warner Bros., Smyth’s experience has been vast. She began by explaining one of the most important aspects of working in publicity for films — the press junket. “A press junket is incredibly important to help build buzz for a movie. Working in International, we often invite over 150 journalists from all over the world to a typical wide release junket, usually 2-3 weeks before the movie opens.”

    Smyth explained at a junket, the journalists first watch the film and then afterwards, they ask key cast and crew (usually the director and writer) questions about the movie. She then clarified why sometimes you see actors with that glazed over look in their eyes when they’re being interviewed. “They literally are getting asked the same questions over and over again from 150 different outlets, and each time they have to make it seem like it’s the first time they’ve answered the questions. It can be exhausting…”

    Smyth went onto explain that Publicity often works closely with the Theatrical and Digital Marketing departments coming up with clever ways to promote a film and even tie its publicity campaign into concept of the film itself. “We call it “stunting”, Smyth clarified. “We do it all the time in print and online.” She then went on to explain a very clever promotional strategy for the recent worldwide release of Edge of Tomorrow that actually factored into the premiere…

    In Edge, Tom Cruise plays a soldier fighting an alien threat who keeps reliving the same day over and over. “We thought it’d be really fun to play with that concept by having three premieres repeated in a 24-hour period.” This ambitious proposal lead to worldwide premieres for the sci-fi thriller in Paris, London, and then New York. “It was crazy. We had to jet the cast from city to city to city. It was a whirlwind, but we got it done. And it made for some great press.”

    Smyth answered questions ranging from what to do when promoting a film that the studio suspects is going to underperform, to the impact social media has had on the whole publicity process. She discussed working with the talent directly on big publicity dates, walking them down the red carpet, etc. as well as working with their personal publicity liaison when developing new promotional ideas. “We always want to do what’s best for our client – the film, they always want what’s best for their client – the star. Most of the time, these two motivations entirely are aligned, but every once in a while,” Tara smirked, unable to share more.

    A first rate publicist throughout, Smyth knew just how to answer student questions ranging from celebrity gossip to movie rumors, giving the class just enough to keep us all titillated, but not offering any spoilers or information she couldn’t professionally divulge. And while she did give those lucky enough to be there a few interesting nuggets — sorry folks, I can’t repeat them here, because as all good publicists, she knew when to remind me, “this is strictly off the record.”

    September 11, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 5761

  • “Affluenza” Screening with Director Kevin Asch and Screenwriter Antonio Macia at Warner Bros.

    affluenza

    This week, New York Film Academy Los Angeles students had the opportunity to see a sneak peek screening of the highly anticipated indie film Affluenza at Warner Bros. Studios followed by a Q&A, moderated by Tova Laiter, with the director Kevin Asch and screenwriter Antonio Macia.

    The film follows aspiring photographer Fisher Miller (Ben Rosenfield) who in the summer of 2008 escapes for the moneyed mansions of Great Neck, while applying to college in Manhattan. Finding himself on the outside looking in at his beautiful cousin Kate’s (Nicola Peltz) circle of indulged friends, he ingratiates himself with high-quality weed and a vintage camera to document their hard-partying exploits until the financial hit, and the glamorous veneer implodes.

    Kevin Asch (Director and Producer) develops and produces projects through his Lookbook Films production company, including Asch’s feature directorial debut, Holy Rollers. The film premiered in the dramatic competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, was released in North America to critical acclaim and played in theaters worldwide throughout 2011. For this debut, Asch won Breakthrough Director at the 2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards and Most Promising New Director at the 2010 Deauville American Film Festival. Antonio Macia (Writer and Co-Producer) has more than 10 years of experience as an independent filmmaker. In 2003, he wrote and co-starred in his first feature, Anne B. Real. This coming-of-age drama won several prizes and was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.

    Kevin Asch and Antonio Macia embody the spirit of true indie filmmakers. The two films they’ve collaborated on to date, Affluenza and Holy Rollers, were passion projects of theirs from the films’ first conception. They make movies for one simple reason and one alone—they LOVE it. This is an obvious fact when you hear them speak. They have a “no matter what” attitude when it comes to seeing their films brought to life and their enthusiasm for filmmaking is downright contagious.

    Kevin and Antonio offered some true words of wisdom for aspiring filmmakers. For instance, although Kevin and Antonio consider themselves equal partners, when on set Kevin is captain of the ship because he is the director. They stressed the importance of maintaining one voice of authority in front of the cast and crew. So if Antonio has a suggestion for Kevin while shooting, he will quietly pull him aside and offer the idea. They advise actors to research the filmmakers they audition for. Nothing is more of a turnoff for a director than if the actor who’s reading for them doesn’t have a clue as to who they are or what they’ve done. A little investigation in this respect can go a long way. Kevin and Antonio also recommended to students to not allow fundraising for movies to intimidate them. They raised over a million dollars for Affluenza. Instead of asking themselves whether they could raise one million dollars, which seems like an impossibility, they viewed it as raising $50,000 twenty times. After exhausting their resources and contacts (and their contacts’ contacts) they realized it wasn’t as impossible as it seemed…

    Kevin Asch and Antonio Macia are already on to their next project—a movie entitled King’s Highway for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions, which Antonio is writing and Kevin is slated to direct. Set in the 1980s, this gritty crime drama centers on a former Mossad agent living in New York. We wish them continued success with this film and future ones that their passion is sure to bring them.

    July 8, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 3473

  • NYFA Films Warner Records’ Summer Sessions

    warner bros

    The New York Film Academy has partnered with Warner Records to film the WB Summer Sessions Concert Series. The program is an invitation-only outdoor concert series created to give WB executives, staff, friends and clients an opportunity to experience exclusive, intimate performances by established and upcoming WB artists.

    The event launched at the Los Angeles headquarters of Warner Bros. Records on Friday, June 6th with GTA, the production collaboration of Matthew Van Toth (Van Toth) and Julio Mejia (JWLS).

    Participating in this NYFA/Warner Bros. collaboration provides NYFA students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience alongside industry professionals, helping our students grow as filmmakers.

    Filming of the WB Concert Series is provided by the NYFA Production Club, based out of the the NYFA Los Angeles campus. The Production Club was formed under the auspices of the Diversity Development Department to offer professional-level experiences to our vast pool of multi-cultural students specifically interested in working on music videos, commercials and short form content.

    The WB Concert Series will continue throughout the summer.

    Upcoming performances include:

    June 27th – Theopholis London
    July 11th – Lianne La Havas
    July 25th – Nico and Vinz
    August 8th – Gerard Way

    nyfa summer sessions

    June 17, 2014 • Community Highlights • Views: 3115

  • Legendary Director Peter Medak Speaks at NYFA LA

    Peter Medak

    Peter Medak and Tova Laiter

    Last week, acclaimed director, Peter Medak visited New York Film Academy Los Angeles after a screening of his 1980 horror film The Changeling at Warner Bros. Studios theater for an in-depth Q&A with Tova Laiter and students. As a first assistant director, Peter worked with legendary British film directors Sir Carol Reed, David Lean, Fred Zinneman, and Alfred Hitchcock. As director, Peter Medak’s 1972 film, The Ruling Class, starring Peter O’Toole, was nominated for an Oscar. His other works include The Krays, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg with Alan Bates, The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Mandy Patinkin and Salma Hayek, and Romeo is Bleeding with Gary Oldman, to name a few. In television he has directed episodes of iconic series such as Breaking Bad, House, The Wire, and Hannibal.

    peter medakPeter had a rocky upbringing growing up Jewish during the Nazi invasion of Hungary and the events that followed. He spent much of his childhood years inside his family’s apartment, unable to attend school because the threat World War II and the subsequent occupation of Soviet Forces posed. He would often look through the keyhole in the apartment’s door, struggling to see what little he could of the outside world. The few films Peter was exposed to were magical to him and ignited his imagination. His aunt was a world-famous traveling opera singer who visited Peter often and gave him a camera and some film as a present. Peter was hooked on filmmaking from that moment on. Later Peter and his family fled to England as refugees. His aunt was able to help him get is first filmmaking job as a trainee in an editing room. He eventually moved up the ranks to work as an assistant director. However, Peter always had ambitions to direct. His big break ironically came when he made one of the biggest mistakes of his career. Peter had failed to call an important actor to set one day. The producer was furious and made Peter admit his mistake to the director himself. Instead of firing Peter though, the director simply coached him on how he could do better next time. The director inquired about his accent and Peter informed him that he was a Hungarian refugee. Admiring his perseverance in the face of adversity the director promoted Peter the very next day to second unit director and his directing career began.

    Peter’s 1980 film The Changeling is regarded as a masterpiece in the haunted house/thriller genre. The director admitted the script gave him chills the first time he read it. He couldn’t put the screenplay down and the material actually frightened him. Peter said that a script that can affect you so profoundly is gold and you should pursue is relentlessly. Throughout his life, Peter has always had an intimate connection to the paranormal. He believes in ghosts and confesses to having seen them. Peter’s experience with the supernatural has informed his filmmaking within the subject. It’s not the ghost that you see up close, right in front of the camera that’s frightening, because it never happens that way. It’s always a glimpse of something that you catch in the corner of your eye that makes the hair on your arms stand up. To that effect, Peter suggested that to show a ghost on film you could fog up a room and wait until only ten percent of the smoke remains. It’s not the effect that’s in your face but the subtle hint of something there that’s scary.

    Peter Medak went on to entertain students with stories from his legendary career and share invaluable advice he’s gained along the way. It was a privilege for all attending to be in the presence of and learn from such a master of his craft. We look forward to seeing what this brilliant mind produces next.

    May 5, 2014 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 4280

  • Screening of ‘Donnie Darko’ with Producer Adam Fields

    Adam Fields NYFA LA

    Producer Adam Fields

    New York Film Academy Los Angeles students were treated this month to a screening of the cult smash hit Donnie Darko at Warner Bros. studios. Following the screening was a Q&A with the producer Adam Fields, moderated by Tova Laiter.

    Although there may be mass confusion as to the meaning behind Donnie Darko, most people can agree that, for one reason or another, they love it. This was the case for producer Adam Fields when he first read the script and decided to spearhead the project. Adam didn’t know exactly what the story was about, but he was deeply drawn to the project. Most notably, the dialogue of the struggling high school students felt more real and moving than anything else he had ever read in that genre. So Adam followed his gut and took on the project. Before he had secured any financing, he went out on a limb and announced a future shooting date in the trade papers. Agents began calling and asking to read the script, their clients loved the material, and soon everyone was interested. This momentum attracted money and eventually Drew Barrymore, who helped complete financing. By believing the project was definitely happening and acting as if it were, Adam Fields manifested the reality he desired.

    The value of “trusting your gut” was an important theme of the night. Trusting his gut is also something Adam did when deciding to produce the film Ravenous. Similar to Donnie Darko, this film was obscure and didn’t fit perfectly into any one particular genre like Hollywood likes, but Adam loved it. Without Adam’s enthusiasm for this offbeat script with cannibalistic content and humorous undertones, Ravenous would never have seen the light of day. He was eventually able to convince a studio executive to read the script. Although the executive told Adam that he “hated it,” he didn’t give up. While courting the executive over breakfast, he learned that he was a vegetarian, which explained to Adam why he wouldn’t like a script about cannibals. However, Adam cleverly spun the project as a “pro-vegetarian” piece. Adam was able to help the executive see what he saw in Ravenous and the project was green-lit.

    Adam Fields rise to the top was definitely an unorthodox approach. He didn’t care about what was popular or trending and simply pursued those projects that he connected with. His successes, (that he has either produced or supervised) — An American Werewolf in London, Six Weeks, Missing, Endless Love, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Great Balls of Fire, Ali, Brokedown Palace, Blue Crush, and Limitless with Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro — were all the more satisfying because of this. This was an important lesson that Adam taught NYFA students.

    We wish Adam Fields the best of luck with his future projects such as Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, The Wedding Ringer, a TV series based on James Mangold’s Copland, and Gone Baby Gone from author Dennis Lehane.

    April 28, 2014 • Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 3936

  • Mad Men’s Harry Hamlin Teaches NYFA Students the Power of ‘No’

    Harry Hamlin

    Harry Hamlin at NYFA LA

    One of the shows that put AMC on the map was Mad Men. The 1960’s period piece captures the life of a prestigious ad agency and its mysteriously talented leading man, Don Draper. Coming aboard the popular drama this past season as ‘Jim Cutler,’ was venerable actor, Harry Hamlin. Last week, Harry was a special guest to an audience of New York Film Academy students. Many acting students were thrilled to greet Hamlin after a screening of an extremely entertaining episode of Mad Men, starring the actor. Hamlin was originally up for a bit part as a swinger who attempts to seduce Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) and his wife. He didn’t get the role, but Harry didn’t exactly want to play a swinger anyway. Three months later, they offered him a part that was supposed to be only one day of work, but ended up being a reoccurring character on the show this past season.

    Harry originally took up acting through a series of rather bizarre circumstances. Originally, he set out to study architecture, but he was late for registration and enrolled in acting school (imagining that he would enroll in classes at the architecture school next quarter). One of the requirements for the acting school was that he audition for a play. He ended up landing his first role, and was cast afterwards in every play that performed at Berkley. Needless to say, architecture school was no longer on the forefront of his mind.

    Harry went on to finish his bachelor’s degree at Yale. At the time, Yale did not allow an exclusive degree in acting, so he had to double major in psychology.

    hamlin2After Yale, he was offered a scholarship to ACT (the American Conservatory Theater) in San Francisco. His parents were so against him attending the program that Harry’s father had removed the timing mechanism from his car so that it wouldn’t run. That didn’t stop him. Harry intentionally bounced a check to fly to ACT and register.

    He received an MFA at ACT. He applied for a Fulbright scholarship and got it. A casting director at Warner Bros., who saw him preform in a play in San Francisco called Equus, asked him to come into the studio for a meeting. Harry had no desire to do film; he considered himself a theater actor. He reluctantly agreed to see her and she immediately offered him a part in a television mini-series. Harry turned down the role, because he wanted to continue studying with his Fulbright scholarship. The studio was amazed that Harry turned down his first job offer, much less the starring role in a big television series! That stirred everyone up and only increased interest in him. The studio kept offering him bigger parts and more money, and he kept saying NO. “The power of ‘no’ caused Warner Bros. to stand up and say, ‘who is this guy?’” said Hamlin. “They ended up offering me a huge three picture deal – the same deal that Clint Eastwood had been given – it was called the ‘Clint Deal.’”

    On the day Hamlin was supposed to sign the contract, he told Robert Shapiro, the president of Warner Bros. at the time, that he wanted it to be written into his contract that he would have some say in the movies that he does. They wouldn’t give him that degree of freedom, so he didn’t sign the contract. Warner Bros. was stunned. Harry knew it was the right decision for him at the time, because he knew the movies that they had in mind for him and he didn’t like them.

    At the very same time Warner Bros. was talking to Harry about signing this contract, MGM wanted him to do Clash of the Titans, which he ended up doing. Obviously he wouldn’t have been able to star in it if he had taken the Warner Bros. deal.

    Afterwards, 20th Century Fox approached him to star in Making Love, which was the very first studio picture involving a gay love story. Harry took the role because he loved the script and felt it would have a great social impact. While it was a great artistic decision, it was a terrible career move. After playing a gay character, nobody wanted to cast him. Harry didn’t work for the next two years.

    Finally, 20th Century Fox came to Harry with the pilot script for L.A. Law. The script sat on Harry’s coffee table for a month, because he didn’t think he was interested in TV. His friend convinced him to read it, because it was the “hottest script in town.” Harry read the pilot, and to this day it is the best thing he has read. He worked on the show for the next five years.

    On the whole, it was refreshing to hear how an actor can stay true to his artistic integrity and still find a path to success in an extremely cutthroat business. The New York Film Academy truly enjoyed Hamlin’s story and advice, and wish to thank him for joining us!

    Hamlin and Tova

    Producer Tova Laiter with Harry Hamlin

    October 22, 2013 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 3972