Walsh: Finds his ‘Way’ into a new career

10 Producers to Watch 2011: Kevin Walsh

Getting thrown out of a car by Scott Rudin on a London highway has its benefits.

“I don’t know what you’ve heard about Scott, but every story is true,” jokes one-time Rudin assistant Kevin Walsh, who characterizes his time spent with the mercurial producer as a tremendous learning opportunity. “But for every story you read about how bad he is, how tough he is, it’s never printed how witty he is. He does have a sense of humor. I love him for what he taught me and what he opened up for me.”

Walsh launched his showbiz career as an assistant to music mogul Tommy Mottola before seguing to the Rudin post.

“Four assistants got fired ahead of me,” recalls the Lafayette College grad of his first days on the job, which included Rudin ripping a fax out of the wall and hurling it across a room. “I went from fifth assistant to first assistant within six or seven weeks.”

The Boston native parlayed his stint working with Rudin on seven films including “The Hours” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” into a writing career, setting up a number of projects around town including “The Leaves,” based on his original comicbook, at Summit.

But he soon came to the conclusion that the scribe life wasn’t for him.

“I felt like I was putting a square peg in a round hole trying to be a writer,” says Walsh. “I’ve discovered in the past three years that I’m a natural producer. The two intersect because I love to sit down with writers and figure out a story.”

But it took more false starts before Walsh fully committed to producing. He dabbled with the idea of helming, and landed a series of assistant director gigs working directly behind Steven Spielberg on “War of the Worlds,” “Munich” and the upcoming “The Adventures of Tintin.” Walsh even inadvertently nabbed a plum acting role when he attended a wedding in which helmer Paul Thomas Anderson officiated as minister. Anderson liked Walsh’s retro looks and cast him in his upcoming period drama “The Master.”

When Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s hot screenplay “The Way, Way Back” came due a year ago, Walsh pounced. The coming-of-age dramedy, which was set up at Mandate Pictures with Principato-Young and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps producing, attracted a number of big-name actors and directors including Levy, Tom Bezucha and Alexander Payne. Walsh persuaded Groundlings alums Faxon and Rash, who also penned Payne’s “The Descendants,” to direct. The producer is now in talks with Jake Gyllenhaal to star.

Walsh also is producing the political action-thriller “Patriot Down” at New Regency. CAA is out to Tom Hanks to star in the pic that kicks off when Air Force One gets shot down over Pakistan and the president finds himself on the run.

Walsh rounds out his upcoming producing slate with the revenge thriller “The Gringo,” with James McTeigue directing, and “King Dom,” penned by “The Break-Up” scribe Jay Lavender.

“All of the other career incarnations helps make me a better producer,” Walsh says.

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

More Film

  • Tokyo Director-in-Focus-at-Japan-Now

    Nobuhiko Obayashi set as Japanese Director in Focus at Tokyo Film Festival

    Indie director, Nobuhiko Obayashi will be feted as the director in focus at the Japan Now section of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will give a world premiere to his “Labyrinth of Cinema.” Supporting his art by shooting commercials, Obayashi is an indie whose dreamy works have influenced numerous other directors in [...]

  • Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Movie

    Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Thriller 'Unhinged' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jimmi Simpson will play a key role in “Unhinged,” Variety has learned. He joins an impressive cast that includes Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius. Solstice Studios is producing the psychological thriller, which is currently filming in New Orleans. “Unhinged” centers on a woman named Rachel (Pistorius), who leans on her horn at the wrong [...]

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

  • Javier Bardem Dune

    Javier Bardem in Talks to Play King Triton in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. Harry Styles is also in early talks to play Prince Eric. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • UglyDolls

    STX Tries to Put Flops Behind It as It Searches for Star Executive, Fresh Capital

    After a series of film flops and an aborted initial public offering, STX Entertainment is battling mounting skepticism that it can survive in an increasingly unforgiving movie business. As it hustles to find $500 million in fresh capital, the company, which operates in the red according to financial disclosures, is simultaneously hoping to attract a [...]

  • Ryan Simpkins

    Ryan Simpkins Joins Fox-Disney's 'Fear Street' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryan Simpkins has joined Fox-Disney’s second installment of 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s “Fear Street” trilogy, based on the novels by R.L. Stine. Leigh Janiak is helming all three films. Previously announced cast includes Gillian Jacobs, Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, McCabe Slye, Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Ashley Zukerman, Fred Hechinger, Julia [...]

  • MPAA Logo

    Motion Picture Association of America Hires Emily Lenzner as Communications Chief

    The Motion Picture Association of America has appointed veteran public relations executive Emily Lenzner as its executive VP of global communications and public affairs. She will report to Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin and oversee the trade group’s communications team in the U.S. and internationally. Lenzner will start Aug. 1 and be based at the MPAA’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content