James Frey Official Website
Join the JAMES FREY mailing list

Cleveland Rocks

from Crain’s Cleveland

Two ‘unlikely blockbuster impresarios’ from Cleveland emerge as ‘the future of Hollywood’



long feature in New York magazine hails the Russo brothers director team — Joe and Anthony, who grew up in Cleveland — as “the future of Hollywood.”

New York says they have just directed “what may well turn out to be this year’s highest-grossing movie (‘Captain America: Civil War,’ in theaters May 6), which is already garnering rapturous fanboy prerelease buzz — and they’re at work on two other blockbusters, sequels to the Avengers films, to be released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.”

By 2019, if all goes according to reported plan, “Marvel Studios will have released 23 separate films that fall within the (Marvel Cinematic Universe),” according to the story. Four of those — The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 and 2 — will be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who are 45 and 46, respectively.

They’re now a long way from Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University, where they attended graduate school “way back in the go-go indie ’90s, the brothers decided they wanted to make films.”

From the story:

They self-financed a tiny crime caper called Pieces for $35,000, which got them discovered by Steven Soderbergh at the Slamdance Film Festival in 1997, which is about the most ’90s-filmmaker origin story imaginable. Soderbergh recognized an affinity in their movie — which Joe describes now as “a very self-aware, ironic, nonlinear, arty, you know, kind of up-its-own-ass film” — to his own Slamdance entry, the nonnarrative experimental film “Schizopolis.”

Soderbergh then produced their first studio comedy, (the Cleveland-filmed) “Welcome to Collinwood,” in 2002, and they followed that with “You, Me and Dupree,” an Owen Wilson vehicle, in 2006. They also became in-demand TV sitcom directors, thanks to an Emmy win in 2004 for directing “Arrested Development.” None of which would seem like a logical résumé entry for a pair of directors now entrusted with the future of the most successful franchise in Hollywood. And all of which says a lot about what it means — and what it doesn’t mean — to be a successful director in Hollywood right now.

[ click to continue reading at Crain’s Cleveland ]

Posted on May 13, 2016 by Editor

Filed under Culture Music Art | | No Comments »