“One word: taste.” That’s what sibling newbie producers Alan and Gabe Polsky say is the secret to their successful foray into the film business. While the Chicago-reared sons of energy magnate Michael Polsky only jumped into the business three years ago, their slate looks like the work of established veterans.
“We quickly realized the only way we’d get anybody to listen to us was through the material we’re able to get,” says Gabe. “Thankfully, what we did get has been attractive to people who can make movies.”
But taste isn’t the only factor that’s helped them. “They’re ready to finance development,” says Ed Pressman, who’s working with the Polskys on their first produced pic, Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” as well as an adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s “God Is My Broker.”
“With their good judgment and (the fact that they) can afford to attach themselves to good properties, I think they have a bright future,” Pressman says.
“Lieutenant” star Nicolas Cage, who’s developing other projects with the Polskys, agrees. He appreciates the duo’s “willingness to do daring and edgy material, which is increasingly hard to find in this economy.”
The Polskys have also pacted with Focus Features to adapt the revisionist Western “Butcher’s Crossing,” with Sam Mendes helming, and joined forces with Scott Steindorff for an update of Russian classic “The Master and Margarita.” They also own the film rights to Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” and the life stories of Albert Einstein (a feature project is set up with Lionsgate and Odd Lot Entertainment) and Sigmund Freud (“not a regular biopic — something Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze-esque, related to his theories of consciousness, id, ego and superego,” they say).
“We really enjoy finding raw intellectual properties and building a film that has our hands all over it, from choosing the writer to the director to the casting,” explains Alan. “Obviously, some doors are closed to us because we came into this with no connections, but we’re really hungry.”
AGES: Alan, 32; Gabe, 30
HOME BASE: Los Angeles
INSPIRED BY: “I think you can find inspiration anywhere — literature, biography,” says Alan. When pressed for favorite films, they cite New Hollywood classics “The Shining” (Alan) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Gabe).