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Imagine you are in film school and you make a student film. Then that student film get’s seen by Steven Spielberg and he calls you into his office to offer you a deal to direct a feature film version of that short. Well, that is exactly how today’s guest go his start.
On the show we have the legendary writer/director Kevin Reynolds. Kevin directed the world-wide blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the epic Rapa Nui, and the infamous and misunderstood Waterworld.
Kevin Reynolds made his big career leap from election lawyer and political speechwriter to pursue his childhood passion for writing – enrolling into film school at the University of Southern California.
In 1980, Reynolds’s debut film Proof landed him a shot right out of USC to work with Steven Spielberg. The film was later produced as Fandango in 1985, written and directed by Reynolds.
Five college buddies from the University of Texas circa 1971 embark on a final road trip odyssey across the Mexican border before facing up to uncertain futures in Vietnam and otherwise.
In 1991, Reynolds directed the $48 million action-adventure film of the time, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, that grossed $390 million worldwide. This action-filled fan favorite follows Robin and his Moorish companion’s adventure to England and his fight back against the Sheriff of Nottingham’s tyranny.
He followed up Robin Hood with the epic Rapa Nui. The film the love between the representatives of two warring tribes changes the balance of power on the whole of the famous Easter Island. The film failed to find an audience in it’s initial release but has since become a cult favorite.
His next directorial outing is the legendary Waterworld starring Kevin Costner. Waterworld was labeled the most expensive movie ever made ($175 million), until Titanic dethroned it a few years later. The press said it was the biggest flop of all time as well but nothing could be farther from the truth.
When the film was finally released it made $264 million worldwide. The film went on to become one of the most valuable IPs in the Universal Studios library. The company created a theme park out of the film that has last over 25 years in multiple parks around the world and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Universal.
In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw “smokers,” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
Reynolds’s critically acclaimed historical adventure film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo novel in 2002, which starred versatile actor James Caviezel, was a remarkable comeback project after a five-year hiatus. The film is about revenge after a man, falsely accused by three jealous friends, sought to avenge his wasted years of somewhat imprisonment serving a wealthy Italian cleric.
Kevin and I discuss the highs and lows of directing in Hollywood, working with Steve Spielberg, his ever changing relationship with friend Kevin Coster, how he dealt with directing Waterworld and so much more.
Enjoy my conversation with Kevin Reynolds.
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