No one has put the letter D to better use than Don Zimmerman, whose film editing career spans pics from Hal Ashby’s “Coming Home” (for which he earned an Oscar nom) to the recently released “Marmaduke.”
He and wife Donna named their twin boys Dean and Danny, youngest son David, and two daughters Debi and Dana. And, not to be left out, the family dog’s name is Dudley.
All five Zimmerman kids are in the business. Debi is a costumer with credits on such films as “Avatar” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Dana is on staff at post house Modern VideoFilm. And all three sons have gotten into their dad’s profession.
“I never pushed my kids to follow in my footsteps,” Zimmerman says. Yet David, 29, is now an apprentice editor working with his father. Identical twins Dean and Dan, 36, also worked with their dad for several years before going on to solo gigs.
Dean’s earlier work included such films as “Rush Hour 3” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” He recently came off his first solo job on Shawn Levy’s “Date Night” and is now working on the same helmer’s “RealSteel.” Following editorial stints on films like “The Nutty Professor” and “The Cat in the Hat,” Dan graduated to chief editor on “The Omen.” His most recent project is the upcoming “Predators.”
While there was no pressure on the three sons to assume the same career as their father, their upbringing definitely steered them in that direction. “Part of what pushed us is our adoration for the entertainment industry, having been raised in it,” Dan says. “It was fun growing up and going to school wearing dad’s crew jackets. We were the envy of lots of kids.”
The kids also traveled with their dad to locations when the school schedule permitted, and met stars like Sylvester Stallone when he worked on two “Rocky” films. But they kept name-dropping to a minimum. “We never really talked about what my dad did with our friends,” says David. “I wanted them to judge me for myself, not for what my father does.”
The children felt their father’s love, but also suffered from his absences. “It was difficult,” says Dan. “Having such a big family required sacrifices on my dad’s part. There were times when we would rarely see him. He would go to work before we woke up for school and come home after we were in bed.”
While Don led the way for his sons to become editors, his own entree was more random. He studied to become a veterinarian, ended up in Vietnam, and when he returned home fell into music editing. Through a friend he met Ashby, who was also an editor at the time.
Ashby spotted Zimmerman’s editorial talent and hired him as an assistant when he embarked on his directorial debut, 1970’s “The Landlord.”
“Hal would look at the other editors’ cuts and ask them what they thought was wrong,” Zimmerman recalls. “They would say they loved it. I wouldn’t say anything, and Hal would say, ‘Don doesn’t like it.’ Then they’d all go home and Hal would ask me to stay, and we’d fix it.”
Zimmerman and Ashby ended up collaborating on six films, including “Harold and Maude,” “Shampoo” and “Being There.” “Each director is different,” Zimmerman says. “Once you have someone you’re comfortable with, you tend to stick with them.”
Signings & Bookings
Innovative Artists bookings: editors Tatiana Riegel on Craig Gillespie’s “Fright Night,” John Valerio on VH1 pilot “Single Ladies,” William Yeh on John Pogue’s “Terminal,” Paul Millspaugh on Billie Woodruff’s “Honey 2,” Pamela March on Spike TV’s “Blue Mountain State,” Maysie Hoy on Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” and Dorian Harris on HBO’s “Enlightened” series; costume designers Shoshana Rubin on Joe Nussbaum’s “Prom,” Ruth Carter on John Singleton’s “Abduction” and Cate Adair on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”
Dattner Dispoto has signed Swedish d.p. Magni Agustsson (“The Last Winter”).
Montana Artists bookings: stunt coordinator Bob Brown on Craig Gillespie’s “Fright Night”; editor Gib Jaffe on Fox’s “Lie to Me”; producer Cathy Gibson as UPM on NBC’s “Outlaw”; d.p.’s Gale Tattersall Fox’s “House” and Barry Donlevy on CW’s “Life Unexpected”; production designers Carlos Barbosa on Fox’s “Terra Nova,” Alec Hammond on Rob Minkoff’s “Flypaper” and Rachel O’Toole on CW’s “Life Unexpected.”; costume designer Suttirat Larlarb on HBO’s “Cinema Verite”; and first AD’s Jay Tobias on NBC’s “Outlaw” and Chad Rosen on Aaron Harvey’s “Catch .44.”