You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes Talk: Russell Levine, Route One Topper

Russell Levine, who heads Route One, is heading for the Cannes Film Festival for the third time. Route One is a producer on “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway, “The Circle,”  starring Tom Hanks, the Jenny Slate Sundance comedy “Landline,” which has sold to Amazon, and recently announced they are producing the Damien Chazelle script “The Claim” and the Fisher Stevens-directed project “Palmer.”

What was your most memorable meal in Cannes?

We had met a French producer during a meal at a bouillabaisse restaurant in Cannes and he asked me and my wife to come with them to a restaurant the next night. So we showed up and they said we were not properly dressed and [they] wound up buying us clothes. So that was by far my most memorable meal in Cannes.

 It is expensive to get to Cannes. What are the best reasons to go to Cannes?

Almost anything can happen. I do make a point of not [scheduling] meetings with people I can see here. I see friends from Toronto, Asia, Vancouver. And you run into friends, and it occurs to me, “I really need to sit down with that person.”

 You are doing panels with Winston Baker in Cannes. What’s the value of that?

There are people from all over the world. People from all over the world show up to Sundance but it’s kind of a thin group. I don’t know how to put my finger on it. People from everywhere show up at Cannes and it’s a deep group.

 What project will you be talking about in Cannes?

I started the company in 2009 and attached Damien Chazelle to “The Claim” back in 2010 before he did “Whiplash.” He was 24 at the time. As long as I’ve known him, he’s really down to earth.

 What’s the status of “The Claim”?

We’re trying to keep from pissing everyone off because we can’t have everyone direct it and we can’t have everyone act in it. The script is really tight — a great Hitchcockian thriller. We’re hoping to shoot it in October.

 Did Route One turn out like you expected?

It could not have turned out more differently. I was a writer in the 1980s, then left the business for 20 years. I started a biotech communications web site and they asked me to raise some money for this company. I ran the business part for a few years but things weren’t moving fast enough so I moved down here three years ago.

 Your first film at Route One was “A Walk in the Woods.”

It was a nice way to start. It had started with Robert Redford and Paul Newman 13 years ago. It had a lot directors on it but it really got going when Redford moved over to CAA.

 What were you doing in Cannes two years ago?

I just did a lot of meetings. We were selling “Free State of Jones” but this time we have a lot to talk about with “The Claim” and “Palmer.”

How do you manage at Cannes to keep from staying up for three days straight?

I try to space things out with the meetings. I will go to a few parties. I try to see one or two movies if I can while I’m there.





More Film

  • Fan Bingbing

    Chinese Celebrities Pay $1.7 Billion in Back Taxes Following Fan Bingbing Scandal

    Chinese film and TV stars have paid some $1.7 billion (RMB11.7 billion) of additional taxes, following the mid-2018 scandal surrounding actress Fan Bingbing. The figure was announced Tuesday by China’s State Tax Administration. Chinese authorities launched a probe into the taxation affairs of the entertainment sector in October. Companies and individuals were asked to examine [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Film News Roundup: AMC, Regal to Leave 'Roma' Out of Best Picture Showcases

    In today’s film news roundup, “Roma” will not be in the best picture showcases at AMC and Regal, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” gets a release and SAG-AFTRA’s David White has a new appointment. ‘ROMA’ SPURNED AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are leaving Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” out of their upcoming annual showings of the contenders for [...]

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • Paul DavidsonVariety Big Data Summit Presented

    Listen: The Orchard's Paul Davidson on Surviving Sundance Bidding Wars

    Hollywood heads to Park City, Utah this week in the hopes of finding the next big Sundance Film Festival breakout. Paul Davidson, executive vice president of film and television at The Orchard, plans to be in the thick of it. In today’s edition of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, Davidson opens up about The Orchard’s strategy [...]

  • Young Tony Soprano in 'Sopranos' Movie:

    James Gandolfini's Son Michael Gandolfini Cast as Tony Soprano in 'Sopranos' Movie

    Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, will play the young Tony Soprano in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the  prequel movie to the television series “The Sopranos.” “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said. “I’m thrilled that I am [...]

  • Bradley Cooper A Star Is Born

    The Message of the Oscar Nominations: You'd Better Have a Social Message

    Each year at the Left Coast crack of dawn, when the Oscar nominations are announced, there’s generally at least one major nomination many pundits were predicting that fails to materialize. When that happens, entertainment media tends to rise up as one and say the s-word: snub. In truth, it’s not usually a snub; it’s just [...]

  • Elton John and Mark Ronson

    Elton John to 'Shallow' Songwriter Mark Ronson: 'You're Going to Win the Oscar'

    Elton John is willing to bet that Mark Ronson will win the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.” The nominations were announced this morning. The legendary performer spoke to Ronson on the latest episode of his radio show “Elton John’s Rocket Hour” on Apple Music’s Beats 1.  “You’re having a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content