You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mostow makes most of ‘T3’ opportunity

RISE OF THE DIRECTOR: What’s the quickest way for a mid-level director to jump to the tentpole group? Jonathan Mostow wagered he could measure up to James Cameron’s past work with “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” It was a gamble that not only could have jeopardized a promising directing career, but the existence of indie financier Intermedia. Now, that company’s head is cautiously wondering if Mostow will say “I’ll be back” for a fourth installment.

Opening July 2, “T3” might be the gutsiest venture of the summer, from Moritz Borman’s decision to finance the $175 million film, to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna tying comebacks and a political career to it. But the big winner might be Mostow, who only a few years ago was dumped from “The Game” and had to battle to direct “Breakdown.”

“Jonathan cracked the script and established the right balance of action, storytelling and comedic balance,” Borman said. “The picture needs legs — a second and third weekend — and Jonathan has given us that chance. A fourth film will be more difficult, but the story opens the door for another and we’ll do one as soon as is feasible. We’d like Jonathan back — if he hasn’t gotten too expensive.”

If Mostow has taken a shortcut to the top, it was necessary to qualify for the big-budget pictures he sees in his future. Mostow hails from Connecticut from a family full of scientists and classical musicians (his father was a Princeton prof who taught on the faculty with “A Beautiful Mind” protagonist John Nash). Mostow’s future veered from music to movies when he took an usher job.

“I must have seen ‘Kramer Vs. Kramer’ 150 times. I sought out films with tight plots like ‘All the President’s Men’ and ‘Marathon Man,’ where the story was the star,” he said. “I made that my mantra.”

HIGHER EDUCTION: Mostow got a visual studies degree from Harvard. His classmates were “T3” scribes Michael Ferris and John Brancato, and they all headed to Hollywood together. The scribes ghosted Mostow’s directing debut, “Flight of the Black Angel,” and they spent the next three years readying his next pic, “The Game.” And then Mostow learned the real rules of the Hollywood game.

“I was a director nobody knew and we couldn’t get a star,” he said. “Mike and John finally said, ‘It’s never going to get made with you, will you consider stepping aside? That was the low point of my career, just crushing.” (He was replaced by David Fincher.) He went six years between films, tying himself inextricably to his script “Breakdown” and benefiting from the risk-taking nature of Dino De Laurentiis.

“No domestic distributor wanted me, so Dino mortgaged his house and put $15 million to start production,” he said. “We were halfway through the movie when Paramount watched the footage and came aboard. If it wasn’t for Dino, I wouldn’t have a career.” Mostow offered De Laurentiis “U-571,” which convinced the “T3” team that Mostow was the man for the job.

SPECIAL CHALLENGES: Mostow said he wasn’t intimidated stepping up to “T3’s” special effects, learning that, “As long as you have ideas and a suitcase full of cash, anything you imagine is possible.” Directing the possible next governor of California also provided its moments.

“Late in the shoot, I returned after being back on a trailer filming driving scenes, and Arnold is waiting to introduce me to Bill Clinton,” Mostow said. I’ve got pictures of me, filthy, completely covered in grease and looking like a derelict, smiling alongside the former president of the United States.”

More Film

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Crosses $250 Million at Foreign Box Office

    Things are going swimmingly at the box office for “Aquaman” as the Warner Bros.’ superhero flick hits another major milestone overseas. James Wan’s take on the ruler of the seven seas just passed $250 million internationally, and a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories brings its foreign tally to $261.3 million. “Aquaman” — [...]

  • Mortal Engines

    'Mortal Engines' to Lose More Than $100 Million at Box Office

    “Mortal Engines,” a steampunk fantasy adventure, is also an epic flop. With a budget of just over $100 million and tens of millions in global marketing costs, executives at rival studios estimate that the movie will lose upwards of $100 million. Some even project that number could float to more than $125 million. “Mortal Engines” [...]

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content