Inglee: Makes his mark by breaking rules

10 Producers to Watch 2011: Lawrence Inglee

“I’m an accidental producer,” says Lawrence Inglee, Lightstream Pictures president of production, who made waves with his first full producing effort, the military-themed drama “The Messenger,” which nabbed two Academy Award nominations.

Inglee, who hails from a small town of about 10,000 people in Vermont, worked in his father’s bookstore, which doubled as the town’s bus stop, magazine stand and movie rental shop. Inglee’s father kept the shelves stocked with everything from the French New Wave to Hollywood blockbusters.

“That’s where my education in movies comes from,” says the Syracuse U. grad, who came to Hollywood with no car, no contacts and no money but quickly landed a job as an assistant at Imagine Entertainment, where he sat across from Brian Grazer and watched the uber-producer work the phones for 18 months. “And that was my introduction to the movie business.”

From Imagine, Inglee segued to the Mark Gordon Co., where he rose to the post of co-prexy and played a key role in bringing to the bigscreen such tentpoles as “The Day After Tomorrow.” By the time he was ready to branch off on his own, Inglee knew “you can move mountains with a great script.” With the Oren Moverman-penned “Messenger,” he felt he could take on Mount Kilimanjaro.

“We put it together against all rules,” adds Inglee of the Moverman-helmed pic, which stars Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson. “No one wanted to make it because of the subject matter. We didn’t use a foreign sales model. It was made from a place of love and a place of will.”

Thanks to the buzz surrounding “Messenger,” Inglee began taking pitches from the likes of James Ellroy, who brought the idea of corrupt cop drama “Rampart” to the fledgling producer. The upcoming pic, which sold briskly at the recent Toronto Film Festival, reassembled the “Messenger” team of Moverman, Foster and Harrelson.

Inglee is now in preproduction on the Jerry Lewis starrer “Max Rose,” another film that bucks conventional wisdom.

“People said pitching and raising financing for a movie about octogenarians is not the most efficient thing in Hollywood,” says Inglee. “But we love it. One of the funny things about the casting of this movie is seeing these great actors, and saying, ‘Sorry, you’re not old enough.'”

Jason Michael Berman | Borderline Films | Tyler Davidson & Sophia Lin | James Gay-Rees | Lawrence Inglee |

Red Granite Pictures | Laura Rister | Jonathan Schwartz | Diarmid Scrimshaw | Kevin Walsh

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content