A highlight from Jerry Bruckheimer - 'Top Gun: Maverick'
Hi everyone and thank you for tuning in to the 465th episode of The Hollywood Reporter's awards chatter podcast. I'm the host Scott feinberg and my guest today is a producer of film and television who is one of the more fascinating and to some degree polarizing figures in Hollywood and has been for decades. The Guardian has written quote to those of tender sensibilities he is the devil incarnate, the man who helped destroy the movies and an architect of our cultural stupid, but to those who sit in Hollywood's counting houses, he's a man with his finger, plates at squarely on the movie going audiences, collective clitoris. He is money, close quote. Indeed, Playboy called him the most successful producer in history. Variety submitted that he is the only man in the business today to become famous strictly as a producer, and The New York Times said he could well be the most influential producer working today. And with credits including the following films to say nothing of his many hits on TV, it's hard to argue. Flashdance, Beverly Hills cop, Top Gun, bad boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk down, the Pirates of the Caribbean and national treasure franchises, and most recently, a sequel 36 years in the making. One of the first movies since the outbreak of COVID to bring people of all ages back to movie theaters in large numbers, Top Gun, maverick, which, 6 months after its release, is still playing in theaters, is 2022s highest grossing film by far with nearly $1.5 billion taken in at box offices around the world. Has received rave reviews. It's at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and might well Garner a first ever Oscar nomination in the category of best picture for my guest. Jerry Bruckheimer. Over the course of our conversation at his Santa Monica office, the 79 year old and I discussed how advertising led him to producing. His roller coaster partnership from 1982 through 1995 on high concept films with the late Don Simpson a pair of The New York Times called the top producers of the 1980s and the Los Angeles Times described as the kings of commercial cinema, making movies in which style was substance and audiences left the theater buzzing from adrenaline rushes. What led him to bet when others wouldn't on directors like Paul Schrader, Michael Mann and Michael Bay, and on stars, including Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, and Tom Cruise, plus much more. And so without further ado, let's go to that conversation. Jerry, thank you so much for doing the podcast. Great to have you on this one. We begin right at the very beginning. Can you share for our listeners where you were born and raised in what your folks differently? I was born in Detroit, Michigan. My dad was a salesman. My mom was a housewife. And I'm first generation, both my parents came in the 30s from Germany to avoid the war. And it was a pretty humble upbringing, right? I mean, from what I could gather reading, there were not a lot of money lying around. That's for sure. Yeah. I could stretch my arms out. It both walls and my bedroom. Really? Yeah. Only child, what were your, I guess, a big thing, it sounds like that happened pretty early on that maybe has shaped everything since in a way. You have a generous uncle. Is that fair to say? Yeah, I had a number a couple of them. And one of them had a gift for you. Yeah, camera. He gave me a camera. And I was about 6 or 7 years old and we have pictures of me with that camera hanging around my neck when I was very young. So I started taking photographs right away. And was that something that you thought as time went by, you could do something with beyond a hobby, or when you go off to college, your major was psychology, right? That's right. That's right. So in a minor in algebra and sociology, how far away can you get? Just the education and the confidence it gives you by going to college. You feel you can take anything on. Yeah. So at the time you graduated, what did you think you were going to do with the rest of your life? And it never clue, not a clue. I applied to some advertising agencies when I got back to Detroit. And ended up in a mailroom for an advertising agency called McManus John and Adams in those days.