Breakthrough pic: “Nine Lives”
What I learned the hard way: “Don’t take a project on unless somebody passing on it will only increase your determination to get it made. You have to love it and want to work on it, and so when people pass on it, that doesn’t tell you that you’re wrong to take it on.”
It took Julie Lynn almost 40 years to make it to Sundance with a feature she produced, but it only took her daughter 3½ weeks.
At the premiere in January of “Nine Lives,” director Rodrigo Garcia told the crowd how he found Lynn throwing up behind a tree on Wilshire Boulevard during a location scout. She worked for the next nine months, gestating a baby and a movie, and, finally, she was in Park City with a four-day-old movie, an infant and plans for more movies.
Lynn was in Washington, D.C., working for a nonprofit as a First Amendment attorney when she was bit by the movie bug. A series of lucky phone calls got her career started. One of her first contacts was to fellow U. of Virginia alum Mark Johnson (“The Notebook”), who took her on as a creative exec after she wrote some cogent script notes on spec. Then she moved to Marshall Persinger’s Fresh Produce, where she associate produced “Twin Falls, Idaho,” “Kill the Man” and “Still Breathing.”
“I decided I wanted to concentrate on projects I chose and work with directors who thrilled me,” she says, so she started her own company, Mockingbird Pictures, in 1999.
In short time, she was working on “Wit” for HBO. Then she got a call from Kathleen Kennedy and suddenly she was in charge of the racing sequences in “Seabiscuit.” “It was fun because I got to see what a big movie looked like,” Lynn says.
When a friend recommended her to Garcia for “Fathers and Sons,” she found a creative partnership that would take her to a new level. “She’s a person with culture and taste — that alone separated her from most of the candidates,” says Garcia. “She’s in touch with the world, politics and contemporary issues. She’s not somebody whose head is submerged in Hollywood.”
They will team next on “Passengers,” produced with Mandate Pictures for Columbia, and the low-budget feature “Fact and Fiction.” Lynn also is developing “Billy Dead” for Keith Gordon, “Fortunate Sons” for Eric Stoltz and “Rapturepalooza” for Chris Matheson.
“I think I could be only two things in life: a political chief of staff or this,” she says. “This is much more fun.”