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Brian Grazer

Cinderella Man (with Ron Howard, Penny Marshall)

Whether he’s producing a sweeping historic drama about a Depression-era boxer or a documentary investigating the social impact of the porn classic “Deep Throat,” Grazer — best known for his collaborations with Howard — is attracted to subjects that reflect the heart and soul of America. “Cinderella Man’s” gritty depiction of poverty makes it one of the darkest summer blockbusters ever released. Was it intended as a corollary to our equally troubled sociopolitical times? “For 23 years I’ve met experts in religion, science, politics, medicine — people who have had impact on our cultural zeitgeist or have created some sort of epistemological shift. I try to bombard myself with information so I’m not naive when I make a film.”

Genesis: “While we were doing ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ Russell brought it to Ron and me. We read it and immediately fell in love.”

Attraction: “Boxing is a very primordial sport, and the inner dynamics which seem to be simple are quite complex and have nuance that aren’t quite perceptible to the civilian eye.”

Building blocks: “Working with (screenwriter) Akiva Goldsman in creating the subplots.”

Greatest challenge: “A week before flying over to shoot the movie, Russell injured himself and had to go right into surgery.”

Setback Setback & solution: solution: “Again, Russell’s injury. To go back into the ring was a challenging thing for him. And if he’d gotten re-injured during the making of the movie, we would have had to shut down forever. That was nerve-racking.”

Would it have fared better as a fall release? “We’ve come out again, and we’re going to be out soon in DVD. I hope that people see it, and if they’ve seen it once before it heightens the emotional remembrance of the film; if they haven’t seen it introduces that.”

Career Mantra: “I do operate with a social conscience. I’ve never made a horror film, and I’m not attracted to visual effects-dominated films. I’m interested in intimate human stories that have redemption. I make movies that offer hope, but I won’t allow them to be soft.”