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

  • Paul Davidson

    The Orchard Head Content Executive Paul Davidson Steps Down

    At the finish line of its sale to 1091 Media, distributor the Orchard’s film and TV head Paul Davidson is parting ways with the company. In an amicable split, the creative executive addressed staff in person and in a company-wide memo on Tuesday in New York City to inform them of his decision. “While I [...]

  • Ava DuVernay Toby Emmerich Michael Douglas

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas to Speak at Produced By Conference

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, and Michael Douglas will speak at the Producers Guild of America’s 11th Produced By Conference. The event will be held on June 8-9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Other notable speakers include Netflix executive Cindy Holland; Blumhouse producer Marci Wiseman; “Homecoming” showrunners Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz; Entertainment One [...]

  • Jean Francois Helene Etzi

    Disney's French Chief Jean-Francois Camilleri Exiting, Helene Etzi Upped

    Jean-Francois Camilleri is leaving Disney after more than 30 years and will replaced as the head of its French operation by Helene Etzi. Sources said Camilleri’s departure was his own decision. He announced his exit on Twitter, Tuesday, and paid tribute to his team and colleagues at Disney, thanking them for the “unique adventure.” In [...]

  • dumbo Tim Burton

    Film Review: Tim Burton's 'Dumbo'

    The key image in Walt Disney’s 1941 “Dumbo” is something out of a fairy-tale daydream: Dumbo, the baby elephant with long-lashed goo-goo eyes, a cuddly grin, and ears as long and floppy as wings, flapping those ears to soar around a circus big top, flying over the crowds with a freedom as touching as it [...]

  • Guys and Dolls

    'Guys and Dolls' Getting Remade at TriStar (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Guys and Dolls,” the venerable Broadway musical, is set to return to the big screen. TriStar Pictures has purchased remake rights to the original Damon Runyon short stories about gamblers and gangsters that inspired the shows, as well as the rights to the Broadway musical with its book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and [...]

  • Captain America: Civil War

    'Black Widow,' 'Little Women,' 'Charlie's Angels' Among Most Tracked Female-Directed Projects, IMDb Says (EXCLUSIVE)

    Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” Cate Shortland’s “Black Widow,” Patty Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman 2,” and Elizabeth Banks’s “Charlie’s Angles” are among the ten most tracked projects on IMDbPro. Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Chloé Zhao (“The Rider”), and Susanne Bier (“After the Wedding”) rank among the most widely followed female directors on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content