Job description: Feature film producers
Breakthrough: Clinching a multiyear first-look production deal at DreamWorks, reuniting them with former New Line Cinema production prexy Michael DeLuca, with whom they delivered the hit “Austin Powers” franchise
In the works: The next Austin Powers installment “Goldmember,” “American Princess,” to be directed by Andy Fleming, “The Captain’s Wife,” at Fox 2000 and the broad comedy “Sex Talk” set up at New Regency.
“It’s perfect Team Todd, a little bit of politics and a little bit of tiaras,” says Suzanne Todd of “American Princess,” when asked to describe the type of material that attracts them. “It’s fun, swashbuckling and has great gowns!”
The producing partnership between older sister Suzanne and younger sister Jennifer has been a fruitful one, having spawned such features as “Now and Then,” “G.I. Jane,” the hit Austin Powers franchise for New Line Cinema and, more recently, the sleeper hit for New Market, “Memento.”
“It was the first independent movie we’d done and we loved the movie but had trouble selling it,” recalls Suzanne. “We didn’t get the reaction from buyers that we thought we would, but the financiers stood by it and in retrospect the success was doubly sweet.” The $4 million budgeted pic went on to be the indie hit of the year for New Market, which distributed the film themselves in the U.S., grossing more than $25 million domestically.
The Todds are keen not to be pigeonholed in terms of the material and types of projects they want to make.
“When we did ‘Now and Then’ and ‘GI Jane’ they said we were chick producers, then we did ‘Austin Powers’ and they said we were comedy producers and then we did ‘Memento’ and they said we were edgy,” says Suzanne. “We’re trying to do things that make money and are also interesting and unique in some ways.”
When asked about the inevitable strain of working with a family member who also happens to be your business partner, they both stress the benefits of their sibling ties. “We grew up together and watched the same films and TV programs, so our tastes are incredibly similar,” explains Jennifer. “I think we’d both like to think it would mean one person does all the hard stuff and the other does all the fun stuff, but what happens is that we work really closely together.”
Adds Suzanne: “Working with a sibling means you are more honest and brutal, both nicer and meaner than you would be if you were partners only on a business level. It allows us to get more done because there is no pretence between us.”