Job description: President, production Universal Pictures with Scott Stuber.
Breakthrough: Took on the top production post at the studio at a time when Universal is riding high at the box office with such pix as “Jurassic Park III,” “Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Meet the Parents.”
In the works: Overseeing Ang Lee’s take on “The Incredible Hulk,” the Dr. Seuss property “Cat in the Hat” and Brett Ratner’s “Red Dragon,” to name a few
“I still get to be as involved as I was before in the development process and because there is two of us it works very well,” explains Mary Parent, who in February 2000 was promoted at age 32 to president of production at Universal Pictures alongside her close friend Scott Stuber. “It’s pretty exciting and because there is two of us we can balance the managerial and creative aspects of the job. We both get the opportunity to spend time with writers, producers and directors and we also get to be team leaders.”
Although she has always been obsessed with movies and movietelling, Parent says she never thought she’d end up in the movie biz. Growing up in Santa Barbara, she came to L.A. to study business at USC.
Beginning at ICM as an agent trainee was “the fastest way to sort of get a handle on the breath and scope of the business,” says Parent. “It’s an amazing training ground.”
From there she went to New Line Cinema in 1994 where Parent cut her teeth identifying less traditional studio fare, allowing her hands-on experience in putting together such features as “Pleasantville,” “Set It Off” and “Trial and Error.”
In the years since joining New Line, Parent has built a reputation as a no-nonsense straight shooter who has managed to combine her passion and dedication for movies with a collaborative and tireless worth ethic.
Parent is much more modest about her successes, saying that she thinks the keys to being a good executive are simply “having a point of view on material, having a passion for it and being able to recognize a good idea for a movie even in its most raw form and finding the right people to realize it.”