John Paul DeJoria Picks Projects to Entertain and Make a Difference

John Paul DeJoria applies the same set of principles to his filmmaking endeavors as he does with his business opportunities. He chooses projects that are fun — note breezy cameos in “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” and “Weeds” — but also meaningful and important, executive producing documentary films for big and small screens that will make a lasting impact for the greater good of the planet.
The 2015 documentary “Racing Extinction,” Louie Psihoyos’ sobering and terrifying look at activists trying to save the world from a man-made mass extinction, is one such project.

“The way we in which we can educate people is through film,” says DeJoria. “You’ve got to show people what’s going on. You’ve to take action. You can’t just sit back and say, ‘this is bad.’ You’ve got to do something.”

Even on “Shark Tank,” the ABC reality series in which aspiring entrepreneurs seek investors, DeJoria opted to invest in a farmer whose invention, the Tree T-Pee, would help fellow farmers conserve water, and do it at a price that was affordable. It’s not profit that drives DeJoria, but the opportunity to use media as a catalyst to improve the world. But DeJoria also points out that films with a conscience tend to reap big bucks at the box office.

“Look at the films to that make the most money, look at ‘Avatar’ from James Cameron,” he says. “It’s an environmental movie: don’t cut down those trees, they are sacred. That film was one of the biggest influencers. Look at ‘The Cove.’ That movie changed lives. We need more of these films. Instead of having movies where people smoke and do drugs and get shot up and kill one another, let’s make movies that are a little more ambitious.”

But DeJoria is not above exec producing the occasional black comedy, like “Bernie,” Richard Linklater’s 2011 indie with Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey.

“It was shot in Austin, where I live, and Matthew and Richard are both good friends of mine,” he says. “They’re just good people, and it was a lot of fun.”

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content