You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

John Hart & Jeff Sharp

Breakout project: “Boys Don’t Cry”

Greenlight wish list: “Musical version of the movie ‘Showgirls.’ (We jest.),” jokes Hart.

Producing maxim: “There are two kinds of people who work in the business: One works to promote the project, the other works to promote themselves. Work with the former and you will never be disappointed,” says Hart.

Most unexpected place found talent: “When we were casting some of the smaller roles for ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ we had casting calls in Austin and Dallas, Texas. We discovered an enormous talent pool out there. But more importantly, we were surprised by Hilary Swank, who grew up in Nebraska. She had this winning boyish quality. She flew herself to New York and met with the director and producers. She stole the part” says Hart speaking for both he and Sharp.

Power Schmooze Spots: The Time Cafe in Greenwich Village or anywhere on the Croisette.

HOLLYWOOD – “We came into it cautiously,” reflects John Hart on his decision to form a company and focus on producing movies rather than just theater. “Can you do movies for under 2 million and get a return on the investment?”

The answer that Hart and producing partner Jeff Sharp have found is a resounding yes: “Boys Don’t Cry,” which Hart and Sharp produced with Christine Vachon’s Killer Films, has grossed nearly $11 million to date and garnered a best actress Oscar for Hilary Swank.

“In the indie marketplace, there is a homogeneity about the product and a lot of that has to do with where it comes from,” says Sharp, whose company frequently scouts the theater for material. “John and I and head of production Robert Kessel are creating a type of movie that doesn’t fit into what’s necessarily expected of indie cinema.

“We are drawn to films that have a strong vision and have strong directors, that come from a personal place. The only other thing is that they are commercial and will speak to a broad range of people.”

But it has not been all smooth sailing. Prior to Hart Sharp Prods., Hart learned a few hard lessons. Linking up with Good Machine, he created Good Fear with a mind to make genre pics.

Through his Kardana Prods., one such film was “Arresting Gina,” a coming-of-age story that didn’t quite work. “Soon after that, Good Fear went good-bye,” jokes Hart.

Building on a track record that included an executive producer credit on Todd Haynes’ “Safe” and producer credits on Broadway and Off Broadway productions including “Guys and Dolls” and “The Who’s Tommy,” Hart linked up with Sharp, a seasoned development executive who had worked for Oliver Stone and Joel Schumacher.

Hart Sharp first co-produced the Tony Award-winning Broadway revivals of “Chicago” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” Using those successes as their bread and butter, the company launched into features with “Dark Harbor,” starring Alan Rickman, Polly Walker and Norman Reedus.

Next came Kenneth Lonergan’s “You Can Count on Me,” executive produced by Martin Scorsese with Hart Sharp aboard as producers, the pic won the Grand Jury Prize earlier this year at Sundance.

From the successes of “You” and “Boys,” the company has recently put together a production fund of roughly $10 million to make four to five movies over the next 18 months — the first of which is “Life,” an African-American mother-daughter story set in contemporary urban America. The project was originally developed at the Sundance writers and directors lab by Demane Davis and Khari Streeter.

Though not interested in ever making event movies, Hart Sharp is exploring joint ventures with foreign companies.

More Film

  • Dean DeBlois'How to Train Your Dragon:

    How Dean DeBlois Broke New Ground in Sequel Strategy for 'Dragon' Trilogy

    As with practically every North American kid of his generation, Dean DeBlois had his mind blown by the original “Star Wars” trilogy. DeBlois — who was born in the tiny town of Aylmer, Quebec, where “Hollywood seemed so, so far away” — had just turned 7 when the first “Star Wars” movie opened in summer [...]

  • Dean DeBlois Chris Sanders Mulan Disney

    For 'How to Train Your Dragon's' Dean DeBlois, Animated Features Were His Destiny

    “How to Train Your Dragon” director Dean DeBlois grew up wanting to be a comic-book artist. After meandering his way through fine-arts classes at Sheridan College for a year, however, he managed to get into the school’s summer animation program, where he found his calling. “Animation had everything I love about comic books — you [...]

  • er prize during the cesar producers

    'Sink or Swim' Producer Alain Attal Wins Toscan du Plantier Prize

    Alain Attal, whose Paris-based company is behind Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Jeanne Herry’s “In Safe Hands,” won the Toscan du Plantier Award, Gaul’s equivalent to the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck award, at a Paris ceremony on Feb. 18. Attal, the founder of Tresor Films, was named France’s best producer of 2018 at the [...]

  • FilmNation logo

    FilmNation Promotes Ashley Fox, Brad Zimmerman to SVP of Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmNation Entertainment, the independent studio behind “Arrival” and “Room,” has promoted Ashley Fox and Brad Zimmerman to senior VPs of production. The pair will source and develop material that can be transformed into movies and will oversee film productions on behalf of the company. They will continue to report to Ben Browning, FilmNation’s president of [...]

  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei poses after

    Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Accuses 'I Love You, Berlin' Producers of Censorship

    The executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out [...]

  • Oscars Nominees Popular Movies

    Oscar Best Picture Race Dominated by Box Office Winners

    This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ ill-fated popular film Oscar category could have just as easily been dubbed “best picture.” That’s because the crop of movies vying to take home the top prize represents the highest-grossing group of best picture nominees in nearly a decade. The eight films in the category [...]

  • Isabela Moner Marcel Ruiz Rosa Salazar

    Variety Announces 10 Latinxs to Watch 2019

    Variety has announced this year’s 10 Latinxs to Watch, and has also selected the Miami Film Festival as a partner for the annual celebration of promising talent in the Latino community that will include a panel and film screenings. This year’s honorees are Isabela Moner (“Dora the Explorer”), Rosa Salazar (“Alita: Battle Angel,” “Bird Box”), [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content