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SXSW '05 Interview: 'The Last Mogul' Director Barry Avrich

by Scott Weinberg

The 'Last Mogul' Pitch: For over a half a century, only one man in Hollywood had the absolute power to run the town, own the unions, and even control Washington. There will never be another like him. Lew Wasserman was 'The Last Mogul.'

"The ultimate hollywood story about the ultimate player"

Will this be your first time at SXSW? Any other film festival experience?
This is my first time at SXSW but I have had films play other festivals.

When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
Hey, I was reading Variety when I was seven - need you ask?

How did you get started in filmmaking?
I started by making a short film called 'Models' to meet models!

How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
This festival makes your entire effort legit - I love it!

When you were shooting the film, did you have SXSW (or film festivals in general) in mind?
Yes, I did - this is the Hollywood exposed - so it SXSW is perfect.

How did you get your film started? How did you go from script to finished product?
I was told it would never get made. That was enough for me - the rest took care of itself.

What’s the one glaring lesson you learned while making this film?
Never say die even when you are about to.

When you were in pre-production, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
For sure. The Kid Stays in the Picture.

If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you want to remake?
The Aviator, not because it needs to be remade, but I want to dedicate it to Marty - who was robbed. No, I would remake the film Thief.

Two parter – name an actor you'd KILL to work with, and then name an actor in your own film that you really think is destined for great things.
I would die to work with John Malkovich and the actor in my film that destined for greatness is Director Sydney Pollack.

The festival circuit: what could be improved? What's been your favorite part of the ride?
They need to pay for airfare. I love the Q&A's.

Have you ‘made it’ yet? If not, at what point will you be able to say ‘yes’?
I made it the day my film was screened before an audience.

A film is made by many people, including the director (of course), but you'll often see movies that open with a credit that says “a film by…” – Did you use that credit in your film? If so, defend yourself! If not, what do you think of those who do?
I did use that - as it comes dwon to many hands but one vision.


The Last Mogul, directed by Barry Avrich, will premiere at the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for more information, and be sure to check out the rather impressive roster of interview subjects at the Last Mogul IMDb page!

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originally posted: 03/08/05 22:47:53
last updated: 03/09/05 04:23:16
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