A lot of celebrities—actors especially—tend to venture into the art of becoming movie producers on different projects. There are different facets and responsibilities to the role of a movie producer, but at the top of the list is the role of pumping money into the project. Oftentimes, a producer may put money into a movie that they simply believe could be successful, for others, the movie is truly a passion project.
There are plenty of famous actors who are known to double-up as far as acting and producer (usually on the movies they star in), but there are also instances of a well-known actor or celebrity producing a completely random movie that people love, but fans had no idea that celeb was a part of.
10 Will Smith Helped ATL Get A Wide Release
On top of quickly garnering love from critics and fans alike, ATL proved to be a box office hit, making $21.2 million off of a $7 million budget. However, both the box office returns and critical reception would’ve been smaller had the studio gone with their original plan to give the movie a limited release.
Because of a cast filled with mostly unknown actors, and a star in musician T.I. in his first starring role, the studio didn’t really have much faith in this one. That’s when Will Smith came to the rescue. “With Will and his production company, they fought tooth and nail to make sure that we were at least in the same amount of theaters as Ice Age 2,” T.I.’s co-star Jason Weaver revealed on the Talk2pops podcast.
9 Margot Robbie Thought Promising Young Woman Was Promising Enough To Buy
Since her career still feels so young and fresh after having her breakout role as a superstar within the last decade, readers may be surprised to know that Margot Robbie has her own production company. Her production company is called LuckyChap Entertainment, founded in 2014 by Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara, and Sophia Kerr.
Their names sit atop the producer’s list for Promising Young Woman, which writer/director Emerald Fennell pitched to Robbie and co. back in 2017. After hearing the opening scene, the script was sold.
8 Rita Wilson’s Husband Saved My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Big Fat Greek Wedding initially started out as an off-broadway one-woman play starring Nia Vardalos. Rita Wilson, having Greek blood pumping through her own bloodstream, got immensely excited to see the play’s title in her local newspaper. She took her mother, sister, and nieces to go see it and Wilson was certain she saw one of the funniest things she’d ever seen.
She then took her husband, Tom Hanks, to see the movie and because they connected with the material so strongly, they immediately offered Vardalos the opportunity to bring the story to the big screen.
7 Leonardo DiCaprio Produced A Surprising Horror Movie, Orphan
Orphan has earned a reputation and cult classic status in recent years thanks to its shocking twist. Its creepy premise centers around a couple adopting a nine-year-old girl who isn’t who she appears to be—she seems to have a killer instinct.
Among the movie’s producers, Leonardo DiCaprio stands out. He frequently produces movies when he’s not acting, often through his Appin Way Productions. It’s rare to see the Oscar winner produce something that doesn’t star himself or at least one of his Hollywood buddies. Orphan stands out, especially because it’s such a distinct horror movie that people wouldn’t expect him to attach his name to. He rarely stars in horror himself, but he produced this.
6 Elijah Wood Surprises Audiences Again By Producing Mandy
Not one to let audiences solely see him as Frodo from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Elijah Wood has made a knack out of appearing in surprising movies. Often in creepy performances like his appearances in genre movies like Sin City and Maniac, but he’s also pursued surprising endeavors behind the scenes.
As a producer, his most surprising endeavor would have to be the critically beloved, but ultraviolent Mandy. The collaboration stems from Wood previously co-starring with Nicolas Cage in The Trust and then Wood pushing Cage to at least read the script for Mandy, per Cage to Rolling Stone.
5 Brad Pitt Put Money Into Moonlight’s Production
In this case, Brad Pitt was more than just a producer. He was the executive producer of Moonlight and the Best Picture winner was released through his own production company, Plan B Entertainment. Pitt has always had an eye for talent as a producer, as three movies he’s produced through his production company have won Best Picture.
One of these movies (which earned Pitt his first Oscar win) was 12 Years a Slave, which after screening at the Telluride Film Festival, Pitt got a chance to see Barry Jenkins’ directorial debut, Medicine for Melancholy. Pitt was impressed enough that he formed a relationship with Jenkins and agreed to produce his next project, Moonlight.
4 Owen Wilson Helped Wes Anderson Breakout With Rushmore
Rushmore is typically viewed as Wes Anderson’s first breakout movie. The first movie of his to earn worldwide attention and worldwide critical praise, paving the way for him to direct bigger and better movies like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Much of that attention is thanks to Owen Wilson helping finance the picture as a producer.
An oft-forgotten fact is that after the two collaborated on Anderson’s directorial debut, Bottle Rocket, Wilson and Anderson co-wrote Rushmore. Wilson also has an uncredited appearance in the movie.
3 NBA Players Produced Oscar Winner Two Distant Strangers
Netflix’s original short movie Two Distant Strangers is about a young Black man who gets gunned down in an encounter with a police officer and constantly repeats the moments in a neverending time loop every single day. Think Groundhog Day, but driven by race relations. This movie earned the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film.
A lot of different celebrities put their pockets into the making of this movie as both executive producers and producers. This includes Cabin in the Woods’ Jesse Williams, former E! News reporter Terrence J, rapper/actor Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and even NBA basketball players Mike Conley and Kevin Durant.
2 Denzel Washington Produced Chadwick Boseman’s Last Performance, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Denzel Washington is often praised among being one of the greatest actors to ever step foot on a Hollywood stage. Before he died, Chadwick Boseman had enough impressive performances that he was on his way to state a claim to such a title in his own right. It seems apropos and strangely poetic that Boseman’s final movie featured a producer’s credit from Washington himself.
The movie in question, of course, is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which also starred Viola Davis in the title role and Boseman as her trumpeter. Both respectively were nominated for a Best Actress and posthumous Best Actor award at the Academy Awards.
1 The Rock Added A Special Touch (Of Cash) To Shazam!
Maybe this won’t come as a huge surprise to some readers knowing that The Rock has already been cast as Black Adam for the movie’s sequel, a proposed self-titled spin-off revolving around Black Adam. But nonetheless, The Rock—through his Seven Bucks Productions—helped bring this movie to life.
Most of the DC Extended Universe’s movies have not been the most critically praised movies in the superhero genre, but Shazam! is one of the few happy exceptions of the franchise. Almost unanimously, Shazam! often gets mentioned as the best DCEU movie.
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Myck Maverick is an English major who wants to steer is skill of writing to pontificate his knowledge and love for the comic book industry, as well as the movie industry. CBR overs the perfect medium to flex his writing muscles as an emerging young writer. Additionally, Myck Maverick’s work and expertise can be found by searching his name over at TheThings, a sister site of CBR under the Valnet umbrella.
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