As the daughter of Arnon Milchan, the Israeli mogul and New Regency founder, one might have expected a childhood reared on the sets of early Milchan projects such as “The King of Comedy” and “Once Upon a Time in America,” embraced as the next descendant of new Hollywood royalty.
But the young Alexandra Milchan grew up outside of the business in Paris (“the best gift my father ever gave me,” she says), and when she finally did come around to work in Hollywood, she did so by her own bootstraps, working her way from assistant jobs and Warner Bros.’ advertising department.
“What I’m most proud of is that I’ve never had a call made for me by my dad,” says Milchan. “I remember one day Michael Douglas said to me, ‘It’s going to be much harder for you than anyone.’ And he’s right: It’s not an industry that welcomes the kids, it’s brutal. But I love it so much.”
She did, however, spend a 13-year stint as an executive at her father’s company, where she helped oversee such projects as Michael Mann’s “Heat,” Joel Schumacher’s “A Time to Kill,” and Curtis Hanson’s “L.A. Confidential.” Now, she’s on her own. “I’m an independent producer with no money,” she says.
The projects Milchan has stewarded recently reflect how far afield she is willing to go.
“I believe in finding the best place for every project,” she says.
So far, that’s meant pacting with a diverse range of financiers such as Peace Arch, Relativity, Capitol, Nu Image and, of course, New Regency on a raft of a major star-studded independents: “Righteous Kill,” “Mary Queen of Scots,” “The Crowded Room,” “Mirrors” and a project she spent 11 years trying to bring to the screen, David Ayer’s “The Night Watchman,” starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker.
She’s also working with Scott Rudin on “Men Under” and Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way on “Wolf of Wall Street,” among others.
WB exec veep Kevin McCormick calls Milchan “brilliant, hardworking, and never easily takes no for an answer.” He relates Milchan’s insistent pitch to the studio to get onboard “Wolf on Wall Street.” “And she did it with charm and without recrimination, and she had my better interests at heart, too,” he adds.
While Milchan admits she’s “all over the place,” she remains committing and close to all her projects, she says.
“I love working with other producers, but I’m also very involved,” she says. “I really want to know everything and be a part of every decision.”
Provenance: Tel Aviv
Inspired by: “I’m a fan of so many movies, from ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ to all the Hitchcocks and my father’s favorite movie, ‘Once Upon a Time in America.'” Others: Scott Rudin (“impeccable taste”), Brian Grazer (“very prolific and great with talent”) and Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“one of the best studio execs ever”).