Paramount’s upcoming “Narc” has all the earmarks of the typical indie success story — edgy low-budget project wows Sundance, gets picked up by a major studio and winds up slotted for a prestigious end-of-the-year release.
What’s atypical is the number of credited producers on the police thriller — 18 in all, including Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.
“That’s an outrageous number,” admits Vance Van Petten, exec director of the Producers Guild of America, which has made credits its centerpiece issue. “It certainly doesn’t help show who actually produced.”
Despite the occasional project with producer tallies in the double digits, Van Petten believes Hollywood has improved its behavior on taking too many credits.
The PGA showed it was serious about the issue in 2000 when it excluded two dozen names from noms for its Golden Laurel awards; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences began insisting last year that only three producers could accept the best picture Oscar; the PGA has been working toward setting up accreditation board similar to the Writers Guild.
So why the sudden proliferation of producers? And on an indie pic?
Here’s the evolution:
Lions Gate picked up domestic rights at the script stage. Then “Narc” made a major splash at Sundance in January. After Sundance, Cruise/Wagner and Paramount execs were enthused enough that Par negotiated a deal with Lions Gate to jointly distribute in the U.S.
The police thriller, written and directed by up-and-comer Joe Carnahan, stars Jason Patric as a suspended undercover narcotics detective seeking to unravel the murder of a young officer.
“This is a terrific picture from a brilliant emerging filmmaker,” says Lions Gate prexy Tom Ortenberg, who, oddly, is not a producer on the film.
“Narc” is now a Cruise/Wagner Production in association with four other entities: Splendid Pictures, Emmett/Furla Films, Julius R. Nasso Prods. and Tiara Blu Films.
For those keeping score, the pic was produced by Diane Nabatoff, co-star Ray Liotta, Michelle Grace and Julius Nasso.
Exec producers are Cruise, Wagner and David C. Glasser.
Additional exec producers are Randy Emmett, George Furla, Peter Block, Michael Z. Gordon, Jeff G. Waxman and Adam Stone.
Co-exec producers are Carol Gillson, Brian R. Keathley, Andy Emilio, Jed Baron and Michael S. Grayson. Tony Grazia is line producer.