Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eric Fellner pre-WT: sleazy pop vids?

Co-founder Sarah Radclyffe left WT in 1992 when they effectively became a Polygram subsidiary (albeit with operational independence), and Eric Fellner stepped in to join the other co-founder Tim Bevan, an immensely successful partnership that continues to tower over British cinema 2 decades on.
Here's the incomparable Indie auteur Alex Cox* on Fellner, who he crossed paths with around the time (1985) Bevans and WT were releasing My Beautiful Laundrette, the company's 1st feature. Cox was in pre-production for Love Kills, later renamed Sid and Nancy, a typically warped, slightly surreal biopic of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen ...

I pursuded the money. In February, Nicky introduced me to Eric Fellner, a promo producer who she thought was the right man for Love Kills. At that time Eric had no film experience: for his sins, he'd just produced a series of high-gloss pop videos in the style of the Emmanuelle films, featuring sexy models crawling through jungles and Venetian blinds. His strategy had been to use these glossy images to sell faux bands like Duran Duran, and it succeeded - nailing shut, in the process, the coffin lid of Punk. Eric was an upper-class lad, like all the other media people I'd met in London, keen on getting into features; confident, and enthusiastic. And he knew London, and London crews. Eric favoured a wine bar in Notting Hill, where he would order a bottle of champagne upon entering; sometimes he'd barely touch his glass and leave the remainder in the ice bucket - he must have been very popular with the waiters. (p. 79)
An early appearance for Gary Oldman and Courtney Love
Cox is more flattering elsewhere:
That we were able to shoot in both [the US and UK] (with an additional day trip to Paris!) is due to Eric and his extraordinary budgeting ability. He managed to extract an 11-week schedule from the budget Zenith okayed - enough for two independent feature films! (p. 81)

*Quotes taken from Cox (2008) X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker Soft Skull Press: Brooklyn.

The movie would eventually achieve a $4m budget...

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