Bringing clarity and the ability to distill the essence of a story
Name: Anne Carey
Breakthrough pics: “Ride With the Devil,” “The Laramie Project,” “The Door in the Floor”
What I learned the hard way: “One of the hardest discoveries for me was that people didn’t view development as producing with the same respect as physical production. I was confounded by that. If the story is the essence of every movie, why isn’t that producing?”
“When I graduated from film school, I didn’t want to be a P.A. and drive a van,” says Anne Carey, co-founder with Ted Hope and Anthony Bregman of New York concern This Is That. “I always wanted to take development into producing.”
So Carey’s first foray into the industry was working for the William Morris Agency, gaining what she calls exceptionally good training processing and covering 200 manuscripts per month.
In the mid-1990s, Carey joined former NYU classmate Hope at Good Machine as VP of development. When she brought Daniel Woodrell’s novel “Ride With the Devil” into the company and worked closely with Hope, James Schamus and director Ang Lee as an associate producer (“She has an impressively great sense of material,” Lee says), the project increased her appetite for real producing. “I began to look for the opportunity that would allow me to take the development skills to the next level,” she says.
Soon Moises Kaufman’s “The Laramie Project” emerged as Carey’s transition to more hands-on production. “Anne has an uncanny ability to quickly distill the essence of the story,” says Hope, “and unravel any mess that obscures it for others.”
Even more impressive, Hope adds, is that she can accomplish such clarity in the face of 6 a.m. calls.
“I am a mother with two children,” says Carey, “so the concept of being awake at 6 a.m. is not foreign to me.”
At This Is That, Carey recently nurtured Tod Williams’ “The Door in the Floor,” an adaptation of John Irving’s “A Widow for One Year,” and is executive producer on Mike Mills’ “Thumbsucker,” based on Walter Kirn’s novel.
“For me, producing and development require the same skills,” says Carey, “which is the ability to not lose sight of the big idea and at the same time being able to keep an eye on the details.”