Lawrence Gordon

Lifetime Achievement Award


With his films raking in more than $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, it’s clear that producer Lawrence Gordon has made his own breaks in showbiz.

For the Oscar-nominated producer (1989’s “Field of Dreams”), getting a project off the ground isn’t about one’s connections or how loudly you yell over the phone; it’s the ability to persuade naysayers that you’ve got a golden story.

“I’ve been doing this a long time now and my ego is such that I don’t wake up every day feeling like I need to be a force to be reckoned with. There are plenty of people in this town who remind you that you aren’t,” says the 40-year vet, who’ll receive the ShoWest lifetime achievement award. “The thing about producing is that you’re as good as the material you have. Rarely do films get made based on relationships. When all is said and done, an actor, director or studio will only commit because of good material.”

The material in Gordon’s resume that makes studios salivate has been of the blockbuster variety — action pics such as “Die Hard,” “48 Hours” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” On April 2, Gordon will unspool his latest shoot-’em-up “Hellboy,” based on the Dark Horse comicbook.

While Gordon’s predilection for action stems partially from his longtime love for the form, it is also his calling card thanks to his ease in handling the genre with the maximum B.O. results — a talent he honed as a development topper at American Intl. Pictures, during the late ’60s and early ’70s.

While working under Sam Arkoff and Jim Nicholson — his first mentors in the film biz — Gordon cut his teeth on the in-your-face marketing tactics of blaxploitation pics like “Coffy” and “Foxy Brown.” It’s also when he formed a rule of thumb that he still adheres to: “A movie can be made for a price.”

What has impressed filmmakers over the years is Gordon’s ability to spot and shape a solid script, a knack he developed while working as a writer and associate producer for Aaron Spelling at Four Star Television.

Walter Hill, who has a longstanding association with Gordon over seven films, recalls that the producer originally came up with the story for “48 Hrs.,” and then proceeded to develop the screenplay over 10 years with a variety of scribes before Paramount, Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte committed.

“Larry understands the rhythm and arc of story,” says Hill, who also got his first shot at directing thanks to Gordon on the 1975 Charles Bronson headliner “Hard Times.”

In an industry that loves to say “no” to big ideas, it’s Gordon’s warm Southern hospitality and tenacity that keeps him afloat and makes him a trusted ally to directors and talent.

“It’s a challenge, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s a game I still love to play,” Gordon says.

As producer
Hellboy (2004)
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
K-PAX (2001)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Mystery Men (1999)
Event Horizon (1997)
The Devil’s Own (1997)
Waterworld (1995)
The Rocketeer (1991)
Predator 2 (1990)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
Another 48 Hrs. (1990)
Family Business (1989)
Lock Up (1989)
K-9 (1989)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Die Hard (1988)
The Couch Trip (1988)
Predator (1987)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986)
Brewster’s Millions (1985)
Streets of Fire (1984)
48 Hrs. (1982)
Paternity (1981)
Xanadu (1980)
The Warriors (1979)
The Driver (1978)
The End (1978)
Hard Times (1975)

As exec producer
Boogie Nights (1997)
Leviathan (1989)
The Wrong Guys (1988)
Hooper (1978)
Rolling Thunder (1977)
Dillinger (1973)