By Phil Contrino
Children of Men. Let's Go to Prison. Red Dragon. What do these three wildly different films have in common? Simple. They were all produced by Marc Abraham.
Abraham's career, which also includes such diverse efforts as The Family Man and Air Force One, does not fall into easy categorization and that is something he is very proud of.
Armed with an incredibly strong list of films under his belt as a producer, Abraham finally decided to make his directing debut with Flash of Genius, which is the true story of inventor Bob Kearns and his battle with the Ford Motor Company over intermittent windshield wipers.
Abraham speaks with the kind of excitement and passion that you'd expect to year out of a first-year film student, not somebody who has worked consistently at the top of Hollywood for years.
He's able to instantly rattle off a ton of influences that helped shaped his vision for Genius. Although one film supersedes the rest.
“I love the movies of the 70’s and they had so much veracity to them. The picture that I gave everyone on my crew—my key grip, my costumer—was a movie also directed by a former producer, Alan Pakula’s All The President’s Men. I just love the subtlety and restraint of that movie," said Abraham.
While some may find the experience of jumping into the director's chair to be jarring and overly stressful, Abraham isn't one of them.
“There was a lot about it that was not surprising to me because the way I produce films is very hands on. I’ve done very eclectic movies and there’s not one type of picture that I do and I’m not just the kind of producer that sets up a movie and disappears," said Abraham of the experience.
In addition to a stellar cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham and Alan Alda, Abraham had the help of a very experienced cinematographer in Dante Spinotti. The Italian-born lenser has been nominated for two Academy Awards—for L.A. Confidential and The Insider —and has also received his share of accolades from the cinematography community.
“There are elements in this film that definitely reflect a certain style that Dante has done before, but it’s probably a more restrained look than he’s shot in a long time," said Abraham when discussing Spinotti's work on Genius. "It’s interesting because Dante thinks this is one of the best films he’s ever shot, so does one of his former directors, Brett Ratner, but I don’t know if some people will notice that because it’s so restrained.”
So now that Genius has made it's way to theatres, there is still one question left to be asked. Will Abraham direct again?
“I definitely want to do it again. I love doing it and I’m very happy with the way it turned out and the way people responded to the picture.”