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The David Brown experience

Hallstrom, Olin comment on award-winning producer

“It is truly a fine experience to feel close to American film history, which is the way you feel when you’re with David. He has produced all of these great films. His knowledge is invaluable about how to make movies, but you are always aware of who he is and what he means to American cinema history.

“It’s great fun to informally interview him on the making of ‘Jaws,’ for instance, with Steven Spielberg. I felt I was privileged to spend so much time with him. He can sit there and talk of experiences with Marilyn Monroe and other legendary actors.

“He is also a great gentleman and a real presence on the set. He’s famous for being a class act and for producing pictures that reflect that class-act reputation.

“For me, he was very respectful of the director and the creative process and didn’t interfere at all. He did have a couple of ideas and suggestions, good ones that you can use. When it came to the editing process, he became more involved, giving me notes.

“He doesn’t push his ideas on you. But he contributes to the overall creative process. He was supportive of me and actually very protective of me and the director’s role. He’s a great source of information on any aspect of the business. And he has a great sense of humor, and speaks brilliantly.

It’s amazing just to have a conversation with him, because he speaks with such a great vocabulary.”

— Lasse Hallstrom, director, “Chocolat”

“He’s such a pleasure to be around and a true gentleman. He’s one of those men who truly loves women and respects them. In fact, respect is the word that comes to mind, because he respects actors and co-workers. He was very respectful of Lasse on ‘Chocolat.’

“His interaction with actors helps very much, because he is also one of those great filmmakers who lifts everything up to his level, almost simply because of who he is. By being around him you know that you give it your best to be on his level. That’s a rare quality that is in everything he does, from the material he chooses to the people he picks to be involved in the movies he makes.

“He’s so full of jokes and anecdotes and always so full of fun. He has this great sense of humor. He’s a person who has been everywhere and done everything and he’s very generous about sharing the information that he has learned in his travels.

“What a comfort it was to have him around. Particularly as a woman, you feel it from him — a great easiness about him. It’s an unusual and beautiful thing to find this in a man’s connection with women.

“The title of producer can be gotten for many things — it’s a wide range of activities that you can do to get that title. David is unusual because he is a producer who is there for the movie. His job is to protect and support the movie, however he can. He’s one of those producers who picks and supports the director and co-workers he can trust.”

— Lena Olin, co-star, “Chocolat”

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