Producers line up projects backed with capital
Brothers Alan and Gabe Polsky don’t exactly finish each other’s sentences. In fact, the newcomer producers — who represent the latest in a long list of showbiz sibling duos — are more likely to interrupt one another.“Gabe and I are totally different people,” says Alan Polsky. “Our tastes are similar but also completely different. Like, we think there might be two different ways to tell the same story. … ” Gabe cuts in, “Often when I present an idea, I get instantly shot down because I’m the younger one.” Still, the Chicago natives, aged 30 and 33, managed to agree on one audacious idea: resuscitating Abel Ferrara’s 1992 cult classic “Bad Lieutenant” for a new generation. The film opened on 27 screens Nov. 20 to $245,398, a soft opening despite the pic’s notoriety. Nonetheless, the Hollywood outsiders are now suddenly developing projects with top talent. But Hollywood wasn’t always so welcoming. When the brothers formed Polsky Films three years ago, they received a somewhat chilly reception. “A lot of doors were closed for us,” Alan says. “Agents didn’t want to set up meetings for us because we were so unproven.” But they had one thing Hollywood always covets: cash. As the only children of energy magnate Michael Polsky and art gallery owner Maya Polsky (the couple’s 2007 split garnered headlines for producing one of the largest divorce settlements ever in the U.S.), the brothers had access to enough capital to begin acquiring an eclectic list of literary properties including John Williams’ “Butcher’s Crossing,” which Sam Mendes is attached to direct and is set up at Focus Features; “Flowers for Algernon” which Will Smith’s Overbrook is co-producing; and Willy Vlautin’s “The Motel Life,” which James Franco is circling. “Motel Life” revolves around a pair of working-class brothers, and brotherhood is more than just a motif to explore for the Polskys. It’s the glue that keeps their fledgling business together. “There’s a brutal honesty among brothers that is in a way conducive to the creative process,” explains Alan, ticking off a number of successful blood-tie unions from the Coen brothers to Paul and Chris Weitz. “It gets good things on the screen.”
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!