“If you can’t get an actor to accept that small role, they’re not right for that role. Don’t change your story to try to beg actors to be a part of it” – Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde is branching out within the movie industry. The actress has just produced her first movie, Meadowland, which premiered at Tribeca. Wilde took part in the Tribeca Talks: The Producers panel, where she spoke about her experience producing, the independent film industry and why it’s important to fight for films to be made.
Discussing why she went into producing, Wilde said: “Once you’ve spent a bunch of your life making movies, you learn a lot of lessons and you feel that you understand the process and you feel that you know how things should be done and you really want to facilitate the good stories.” She added: “I’d been working for 12 years as an actress, learned from some really fantastic producers and I felt that it was time that I use those lessons and turn it around and try to help someone I really respected, in this case, Reed Morano, our director, make our film and her directorial debut.”
Explaining that she really wanted to stand up for good movies to get made, Wilde said: “There are so many stories out there that need to be told but just need that last element — they need people to fight for them.”
She went on to discus financing of films. Meadowland was initially offered to her as an acting project, and once she took on the producing role her eyes were opened to a whole new side of the industry that she hadn’t been aware of before.
“Once you see those lists with all of the actors, listed by value, and you’re like, ‘Where am I?…Oh, gosh,'” she said, adding that she didn’t think producers should agree to make story or casting compromises in order to get their project financed.
“Let’s say you’re making a film and the male role isn’t as big as the female role and the financier says, ‘Well if we bump up this male role, we might get a bigger male actor and then we can make this movie.’ I think it’s really important resisting that and sticking to your guns and telling the story you really want to make,” Wilde said. “And if you can’t get an actor to accept that small role, they’re not right for that role. Don’t change your story to try to beg actors to be a part of it. If it’s a good story, they’re lucky to be a part of it.”
Wilde also offered further advice to producers about casting, and that is to be clear about what the role entails exactly: “Make sure you allow the actor to really understand what they’re being offered and who the director is,” she said. “I just can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed on something because it just wasn’t presented to me in the right light and then later seeing it being made and being like, ‘Wait. What?…I didn’t know it was that!'”