“Is there anything new under the sun?” Medavoy wonders.
Having worked himself up from the mail room, this UCLA grad continues to look for new ways to tell classic stories even though he now has over 300 feature films to his credit. He knows that motion pictures can matter.
“Having done three Vietnam War movies, I would say movies do have an impact,” he says. “A guy like myself, who was born in Shanghai and went to Chile, movies were what I knew of America. They were the education that I had. Is there any question that the Berlin Wall fell because they were looking at ‘Dallas’ and said, ‘Those people are living better than we are?’ ”
Medavoy co-founded Orion Pictures in 1978; pictures made there include “Platoon” and “Amadeus.” As chairman at TriStar Pictures, he made “Philadelphia,” Hollywood’s first AIDS drama.
At the moment, Medavoy is chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures, which has unspooled “All the King’s Men,” “Holes,” “Dick” and “The Thin Red Line” — pictures that combine strong characters, emotionally vital situations and a real-world perspective. As Medavoy notes of “All the King’s Men,” “Robert Penn Warren’s inspiration for this was 1938 and he was living in Italy and watching Mussolini and Hitler. What’s changed? It’s for you to decide.”