Poland’s Camerimage cinematography fest, which kicked off Saturday, will honor Paula Wagner with its prize for “producer with unique visual sensitivity,” in recognition for her work on such films as “Mission: Impossible” and other partnerships with co-producer Tom Cruise.
With four decades of work, starting with projects such as Alejandro Amenábar’s chiller “The Others” and Billy Ray’s journalist drama “Shattered Glass,” the former actress built her career via agency work, repping talents such as Sean Penn, Val Kilmer, Demi Moore and Liam Neeson while at the Creative Artists Agency.
In 1993, she launched Cruise/Wagner Productions, which took on the film adaptation of the hit ‘70s TV suspense series “Mission: Impossible,” launching the franchise that continues to roll along. Cruise and Wagner also worked on Cameron Crowe’s mystery romance “Vanilla Sky,” based on Amenábar’s “Abre los ojos.”
Wagner then produced Edward Zwick’s Cruise-starrer “The Last Samurai,” exec produced Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi tribute “War of the Worlds,” and Bryan Singer’s WWII thriller “Valkyrie,” which Wagner oversaw as CEO and co-owner of United Artists.
Wagner has taken on Broadway producing with Moisés Kaufman-directed “The Heiress,” starring Jessica Chastain and David Strathairn, and is currently adapting and producing “Pretty Woman: The Musical” for the stage, with Jerry Mitchell directing and a score by Bryan Adams and his longtime associate Jim Vallance.
Wagner’s company Chestnut Ridge produced Reginald Hudlin’s courtroom drama biopic “Marshall,” the story of the breakthrough case of a young Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first African-American Supreme Court justice, which will screen at Camerimage, running Nov. 11-18 in the city of Bydgoszcz.