Ep 61: Elite Hollywood Producer, Jennifer Todd

Jennifer Todd has been consistently executing on the highest level of Hollywood producing while maintaining her integrity, loyalty and incredibly understated work ethic.  While she has a hard time calling attention to her accomplishments, she is largely responsible for some of the films that have left an indelible impression on our collective conscious: Memento (for which she won an Independent Spirit Award), The Austin Powers Trilogy (which became part of our culture's humor reference), Boiler Room (with first-time Director Ben Younger, whom she teamed up with again to make Prime with Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman), Across the Universe (with Lion King creator Julie Taymour) among many more.  Jen has run Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's production company, Pearl Street Films, for the past several years and recently began working alongside Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment.  She's only the third female to have produced the Oscars (she did it the last two years with Mike DeLuca and shares a great inside story about the infamous "wrong envelope for Best Picture" gaffe from the 2017 show).  Despite all of this, on most Saturday afternoons you can find her in her backyard hosting her kids' friends' and essentially making everything run smoothly while calling ZERO attention to herself... producing just as incredible of a life as the movies she makes. 

SHOW NOTES:

“I worked for a lot of people that taught me how I didn’t want to do things”, (9:38). Collaborating with Mike Deluca, (10:14). “My best talent in life is picking talented people”, (12:54). The challenges of Memento before Oscar nominations, (13:27). Rejection in the movie industry, (19:56). “Women make strong producers”, (22:34). Directing with tunnel vision, (23:16). Awareness of her role, (24:58). Fears while working on set or on a project, (25:17). Fear of making anything good again, (27:00). “People want to get out of the house”, (33:32). Inspiration at a young age, (35:17). Misconceptions about what she can do to help people, (37:57). Being a female in a business that has been infamous for uneven pay scale, (41:22). The rise of women in telling Action Movies, (43:28). “There are a lot of rejections.”, (46:54). Prime with Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman, (48:16). “You have to be half crazy”, (49:20). Escapism from her familial struggles, (51:45). Producing the Oscars, (56:13). Live television versus the movie industry, (1:02:14). “I think they [her children] have two parents who are working storytellers.”, (1:06:10).  

J Todd Links

Biography: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0865189/

Oscars: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/03/oscars-2018-producers-jennifer-todd-mike-de-luca-jimmy-kimmel 

Memento Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi1368785177

Village Voice Article: https://geektyrant.com/news/2009/9/10/why-halo-screenwriter-josh-olson-will-not-read-your-effing-s.html

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PodcastMatthew Del Negro