When producer Scott Rudin ended his Paramount tenure, some wondered how his style would mesh with the family film company.
Winning the top Oscar with Joel and Ethan Coen for “No Country for Old Men” was vivid proof that New York’s most prolific film producer has found a way to thrive without changing. Guided by impeccable taste, he finds challenging properties, marries them to great writers, directors and casts, then stirs the ingredients for as long as necessary.
Rather than struggle with other Disney producers for the few live-action slots that don’t belong to Jerry Bruckheimer, Rudin became fast friends with incoming Miramax Films’ Daniel Battsek, and (along with Paramount Vantage’s John Lesher) took the bows for “No Country,” as well as praise for “There Will Be Blood,” a picture nominee that won the actor trophy for Daniel Day-Lewis.
Rudin’s Gotham base puts his ear close to the ground on lit properties, and he has the nose for what he likes even sometimes when an author hasn’t committed more than a page’s worth of words to convey the idea. Long before Junot Diaz’s novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” won the Pulitzer Prize, Rudin bought the book, simply because he loved its tragic, quirky protagonist.
Post-Oscar, Rudin continues to reload with literature, acquiring Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” as a Coens reteam and coming full circle with the Richard Price novel “Lush Life”: Rudin got his first taste of adapted literature as the 19-year-old casting director on “The Wanderers,” Price’s first novel.