Producer Matt Tolmach, who has two projects in the works at MGM, including the horror film Dark Harvest due out on September 23, said De Luca’s passion for good stories is contagious. “He read the script and called me and we had an hour long talk about the possibilities and how great it would be and how we can push the envelope,” he said of Dark Harvest. “That’s what he does. He makes your film better. “
From Mr De Luca’s point of view, the new MGM is about “treating the filmmakers like the franchise,” he said. When he and Mrs. Abdy first met, the duo put together a list of 36 directors they wanted to lure into the studio. In 15 months they caught 20 percent of them, including Darren Aronofsky, Sarah Polley, Melina Matsoukas, and George Miller.
“We don’t mind making big swings and playing because I think it’s either big or home,” he added. “I think the audience will reward you if you are really original, innovative, brave and creative.”
At a shareholders meeting last month, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, called the reason for the takeover “very simple”. He said MGM has a “huge, deep catalog of much-loved” films and shows. “We can rethink and develop this intellectual property for the 21st century.”
This contradicts the approach that Mr De Luca and Mrs Abdy have primarily followed.
“Mike and I didn’t sit down and say we’d go through the library and do it all over again,” said Ms. Abdy. “Our focus is on original ideas with original authorship and real filmmakers, but you know that every now and then something will come out that is fun and we will pursue it when we see fit.”
These ideas include a hybrid live-action / animated remake of “Pink Panther”; Michael B. Jordan as director of the third part of the “Rocky” spin-off “Creed”; and “Legally Blonde 3” starring Reese Witherspoon and a script co-written by Mindy Kaling.