From “Chucky” to “Crouching Tiger,” to “Brokeback Mountain,” David Linde has made a reputation for cultivating niche fare with international appeal. Now the former Good Machine International chief is being eyed as part of the team to replace outgoing Universal chairman Stacey Snider, reports crack Wall Street Journal reporter Kate Kelly. UPDATE: indieWIRE made it official a couple days later.
The news brings me back to the days when Good Machine was first swallowed by Universal back in 2002, and some in the industry claimed that these guys could change the system from the inside. With films like “Brokeback Mountain” perhaps to a certain extent they have, but how much can Linde really do at Universal, no longer part of a specialized division? Can he really push for more risky projects while residing inside Universal’s Black Tower, a company that once forced its indie division October Films to drop “Happiness,” Todd Solondz’s film that Linde had produced with partners James Schamus and Ted Hope? And what does it mean for Focus if the business savvy of Linde is lost, and Schamus is left without a shrewd financial minder?