Mark Wahlberg might be the most famous face at this table, but while those surrounding him may not be on billboards, they are some of the most powerful players in the biz. David Heyman (“Gravity“), Charles Roven (“American Hustle,” “Man Of Steel“), Pam Williams (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Amazing Spider-Man“), Michael De Luca (“Captain Phillips“) and Dede Gardner (“12 Years A Slave,” “World War Z” and longtime producing partner for Brad Pitt) are some of the movers and shakers behind the year’s biggest films. And when THR gets them all in one place to talk, you know it’s going to be fascinating stuff.
For example, Wahlberg (a producer on “Prisoners,” fyi) reveals he nearly dumped his agent over “Fifty Shades Of Grey,” but not for the reason you might think. “I almost fired my agent Ari [Emanuel] over [‘Fifty Shades’]—not because I wanted to play the part. We were aware of the book very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war. We were so close to having [it],” the actor/producer said. “That was one of the few times I was going to fire Ari.”
Meanwhile, when the subject of controversial casting comes up, Roven reflects on Heath Ledger on the outcry that emerged when he was chosen to play Joker in “The Dark Knight.” And he shares a story about the actor, and his reaction to the early footage. “I had just shown him the five-minute prologue that was going to come out in IMAX, six months before the movie was coming out. And he just went crazy for it, loved it so much,” Roven explains. “We showed it to him twice, and then two weeks later, he’s dead. That was really, really shocking.”