×

Toby Emmerich Recalls Rachel McAdams’ Chemistry Read With Ryan Gosling

In the span of one year, Toby Emmerich ascended to the chairman role at Warner Bros. Picture Group, shepherded the studio’s record-breaking slate at the worldwide box office, and was selected as the latest recipient of the PGA’s Milestone Award, a kudo that has previously gone to execs including Donna Langley and Robert Iger.

Among the big hits released under Emmerich’s watch last year: “Aquaman,” “A Star Is Born” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” is racking up awards season recognition, while “Crazy Rich Asians” defied Hollywood expectations for a movie with an all-Asian cast.

“You cannot get too caught up in other people’s perceptions of success or failure,” Emmerich says. “And you shouldn’t allow yourself to be cowed when you do fail. Striking out is part of the game. But you have to play to win, and you rarely win when you play not to lose.”

Emmerich became president and chief content officer for Warners in 2016 after a long run rising through the ranks at sister studio New Line. His early credits there date back to the early 1990s as an executive music producer on films including “Above the Rim” and “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”

“There is a much more immediate relationship between audiences and films than ever before, but what hasn’t changed is that great stories and great storytellers are the lifeblood of our business,” he says. “Quality is still the best strategy in the motion picture business.

“It sounds simple, but you need to know who you are making a film for. That dictates everything else.”

Emmerich is especially proud of serendipitous moments when he helped filmmakers bring their projects to life.

“Like working with Nick Cassavetes on casting for ‘The Notebook’,” says Emmerich, recalling Rachel McAdams’ chemistry read with Ryan Gosling on that New Line project. “It was pure magic.”

Another prize moment: when the studio bought “Elf” out of turnaround for Will Ferrell and Jon Favreau went to meet with Ferrell on the set of “Old School,” joining forces on that hit movie.

“I hope that I am remembered as someone who chose films and filmmakers that I believed in,” Emmerich says, “and every once in a while got it just right — enabling movies that stood the test of time.”

More Film

  • Justin Baldoni

    Justin Baldoni Developing 'It Ends With Us' Romance Movie

    “Jane the Virgin” Star Justin Baldoni is adapting Colleen Hoover’s romance novel “It Ends With Us” for film through his Wayfarer Entertainment company. Baldoni announced Monday that he had optioned the project on his Instagram account. “It Ends With Us” first published in 2016 and follows a young woman through the tumultuous stages of an [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson Film 'Marry Me' Moves Back to Universal From STX

    The Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romantic comedy “Marry Me” has moved from STX back to its original home, Universal Pictures. STX previously took over the project in April. Kat Coiro is directing from a script written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Colombian singer/rapper Maluma has joined the cast and [...]

  • Austin Butler to Star as Elvis

    Austin Butler to Star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann's Biopic

    Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its king of rock ‘n’ roll. After numerous screen tests, Austin Butler has been tapped to play Elvis Presley in Luhrmann’s next feature film for Warner Bros. The studio tested with a handful of actors in full hair and make-up at the end of June to see who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content