Step into the sun-filled Santa Monica office of HBO Films president Len Amato, and you get an immediate sense of the man: a filmmaker, a music lover, a father. Although the room clearly has the hand of an interior decorator (note the Noguchi coffee table), “it doesn’t feel decorated to me,” he says. Photographs and memorabilia fill every available surface: “It’s stuff I’ve collected over the years, things that mean something.” He strives for a comfortable mood, because he wants it to be creative. “It doesn’t mean that a lot of hard work doesn’t get done, that tough decisions don’t get made, that things don’t get heated,” he says. “But it’s like the shape of the office: You try to avoid the hard edges.”
WINDOW TREATMENT: “One of the things I love about the office is all the windows,” he says, noting his expansive view of the California hillsides. “Any place I am, I open all the curtains.”
YELLOW ALERT: Beware the yellow couch, warns Amato: “It’s so deep so everyone has to do this squirming thing so they don’t fall back,” he says. “You pay the price for style.”
FATHER FIGURE: Taking a prime position on one of his walls is a tropical-themed painting of a woman in a hat by his father, who used to work in a factory. “He was very talented,” says Amato, who confesses his father doesn’t even know it’s in his office.
TEAM SPORT: A prized possession is a photograph of Toots Shor’s softball team, which boasts comics mixing with singers mixing with boxers: Joe Lewis, Rocky Marciano, Ernie Kovacs, Frank Sinatra, Phil Silvers. Amato calls it a “conversation piece”: “Billy Crystal’s the only one who could name everyone.”
POINT AND SHOOT: Tucked away next to his bigscreen TV is his Bolex camera, given to him back when he was in film school. He keeps it as a reminder that “technology doesn’t matter, it’s the storytelling.”