Meet Graham King, a producer known for taking gambles on films no one cared about in the first place ("Traffic" and "Gangs of New York," to name two). Unfortunately, it looks like King's time in Hollywood has turned his enthusiasm into concerned apathy.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, King spoke candidly about his work on "Hugo," and how poorly it has performed at the box office -- despite its numerous accolades, including 11 Academy Award nominations. (The Oscar-nominated flick has grossed only $62 million on a very expensive $156 million budget.)
It's been a sobering experience for King, an ebullient man who is usually the life of the party. "I've completely changed my way of thinking about making movies, maybe from hitting my head too hard a couple of times ... Now when I read a script, I think -- what does the audience want to see? In the past, I was only thinking about what I wanted to make. But I'm changing my ways. I'm too old, too tired. I don't want to live on the edge anymore."
King's quotes are certainly disappointing to those in search of original ideas in cinema,. However, what's more surprising is how the budget of "Hugo" spiraled out of control, even with Martin Scorsese leading the way. As King tells it, "Budget wise, there just wasn't enough prep time and no one really realized how complicated doing a 3-D film was going to be. I went through three line producers because no one knew exactly what was going on ... Let's just say that it hasn't been an easy few months for me -- there's been a lot of Ambien involved."
Hopefully, "Hugo" will turn into a classic and make money further down the road. As for King, fingers crossed that the producer of four Martin Scorsese flicks won't be financing a "Chutes and Ladders" feature anytime soon.
You can read the full feature on King over on at the Times.