Jerry Weintraub has produced some major hits, including Ocean’s 11 and The Karate Kid, but with his latest movie, the HBO funded Behind The Candelabra (which opens in UK cinemas on June 7th), his hopes don’t just stretch to commercial success, he thinks the movie “is going to change the film business in America”.
A few months ago, director Steven Soberbergh said that despite having Michael Douglas and Matt Damon attached, and a relatively low budget, no major studio would touch it. “They said it was too gay…” said Soderbergh. “This is after Brokeback Mountain by the way. I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us. Nobody would make it, went to everybody in town.”
Weintraub hopes things will change now the movie’s the made. He told JemmOne radio that when they went to the studios, “They didn’t believe in it. Great! So HBO did and HBO, in fact, gave us a much larger audience than we could ever get in the theatres and we were ecstatic about it.”
He then said, “It’s my opinion that this is going to change the film business in America and you’re going to see a lot more things done this way. We had three and a half million homes just on Sunday night (when the film was broadcast on HBO in America) and that’s without the TIVO-ing. When we’re finished, God knows how many millions of people will see this film and that’s what we wanted. That’s why we made it.”
Asked about attitudes concerning homosexuality, Weintraub said: “I think that’s changing. 58 percent of the people in America are for gay marriage now and it should be, in my opinion, legal. There’s nothing wrong with it. People should love who they love and they should be able to walk down the street with who they want to walk down the street with and hold hands with who they want to hold hands with.”
He then talked a bit about being rebuffed by the studios and whether that was homophobic. “I don’t think they wanted to keep anything in the closet. I don’t think it’s about that,” he said. “There are plenty of homosexuals in Hollywood, plenty of homosexuals in the studios etc etc. I think it had to do with the fact that they couldn’t see making a lot of money with the film. They couldn’t realise it. It didn’t click for them. People have their own opinions about things and I respect them and I couldn’t care less. I don’t care what the studios say, I never did. I make things that I want to make.”