BPS 191: Swingers, Scream & Rudy - The Art of Producing with Cary Woods
04.22.2022 - By Bulletproof Screenwriting™ Podcast with Alex Ferrari
Today on the show we have legendary film producer Cary Woods. Cary Woods is a film producer best known for producing worldwide blockbusters such as Scream and Godzilla, the beloved independent films Kids, Cop Land, and Gummo, and modern classics like Rudy and Swingers.Woods is also responsible for producing the breakthrough features of such notable directors as James Mangold, Doug Liman, M. Night Shyamalan, Alexander Payne, Harmony Korine, and Larry Clark, as well as the screenwriting debuts of Jon Favreau, Kevin Williamson, and Scott Rosenberg.Woods' filmography features a lineup of A-List actors, including: Robert Downey, Jr., Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Marisa Tomei, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, Mike Myers, Laura Dern, Heather Graham, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Drew Barrymore, Matthew Broderick, Courteney Cox, Timothy Hutton, Andy Garcia, Neve Campbell, Sean Astin, Michael Rapaport, Jean Reno, and Steve Buscemi.Born and raised in the Bronx, Woods graduated from the USC Gould School of Law before beginning his career at the William Morris Agency (now WME). As an agent, Woods represented - and in many cases introduced audiences to - the likes of Gus Van Sant, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Connelly, Milla Jovovich, Charlie Sheen, Matt Dillon, Todd Solondz, and most prominently, Gregory Peck.At WMA, Woods also represented many of the industry's most successful stand-up comedians including Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay, Gilbert Gottfried, Sandra Bernhard, Tommy Davidson, and Jackie Mason.After developing the Indie favorites Heathers and Drugstore Cowboy as an agent, Woods accepted a position at Sony Pictures Entertainment (the parent company of Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures) as a Vice President - Office of the Chairman, reporting directly to Peter Guber. Woods later segued to a production deal at Sony, resulting in the release of a succession of iconic films, including So I Married An Axe Murderer, Rudy, Only You, and Threesome.After starting his own production company - Independent Pictures - the explosive release of the 1995 cultural phenomenon Kids (starring then-newcomers Rosario Dawson and Chloe Sevigny) began a streak of culturally significant, critically-acclaimed independent films produced by Woods under his banner.The next few years saw the releases of Citizen Ruth (the first film from future two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne), Beautiful Girls (which introduced American audiences to Natalie Portman), and Swingers (springboarding Vince Vaughn to comedy mega-stardom).His 1996 film Scream (the most successful film of "Master of Horror" Wes Craven's career) marked a turning point for the entire genre, grossing over $170 million and setting a box office record that would stand for 22 years. The film instantly and single-handedly pivoted horror toward postmodernism, spawning a massive billion-dollar franchise (consisting of successful sequels, a TV series, toys, and Halloween costumes), as well as inspiring countless knock-offs in the years since.Gummo - the directorial debut of Kids' screenwriter Harmony Korine - received the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1997 Venice Film Festival. Bernando Bertolucci, the famed director of Last Tango in Paris, praised the film, calling it "The one revolutionary film of the late 20th century."In 1998, the first US-produced entry of the iconic Godzilla film franchise would become Woods' and Independent Pictures' single highest-grossing film, earning nearly $400 million.Woods would go on to serve as co-Chairman, and Chief Creative Officer of Plum TV, in which he was a founding partner. Broadcasting in the nation's most affluent markets (i.e. Aspen, the Hamptons, Miami Beach), the luxury lifestyle network would go on to earn eight Emmy Awards.Enjoy my conversation with Cary Woods.