How to Make a Hit Movie Like Harvey Weinstein


Some, like Meryl Streep, call him "God," some call him a Movie Mogul. But Harvey Weinstein just considers himself a filmmaker, and he's still working hard at it.

When Mr. Weinstein emailed Howard directly, asking to come on the show so he can set movie-goers straight about his new film "August: Osage County," Howard was intrigued. He wanted to see if his Harvey could teach us what it takes to be a filmmaking icon.

Harvey started with his childhood in Brooklyn, where he got his eye poked out during a game of Cowboys and Indians. Harvey was running around as an Indian, and, in his words "got f*cked just like they did." He missed out on a lot of school as he healed, and spent time at the local library reading books (with one eye). It taught him to love stories and gave him an instinct for what was compelling.

He's worked with everyone, and is full of great stories about life as a Hollywood lion:


First up, Harvey wanted to tell a story that he could never tell before (because he's never been in a long-form, uncensored environment like Studio 69). He met with the young, unknown duo of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon when they were shopping around their script Good Will Hunting.

Harvey liked the script, except for one odd scene where the professor (played by Robin Williams) gives another professor a blow job. Ben and Matt said they put that scene in as a test - Of all the executives they met, Harvey was the only one who noticed. He's one of the few "moguls" who actually reads scripts.


One of the many actresses Harvey championed was Dame Judi Dench. He put her in Shakespeare in Love, and she won an Oscar for nine minutes of screen time. That led to an astonishing six Oscar nominations in a row for her work in Harvey's productions. To thank him, she invited him to dine at the Four Seasons and, in front of the whole restaurant, pulled her pants down to reveal a tattoo that said "Judi Loves Harvey" on her ass. Later, she would change the tattoo to say "Judi Loves Johnny" (Depp), "Judi Loves Kevin" (Spacey) and "Judi Loves Daniel" (Craig).


Harvey began his working relationship with writer/director Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction, and has continued working with him ever since. He calls Quentin the only director he would finance blindly, he believes in his talent so much. He read Quentin's 216 page script for "Kill Bill" and said he loved it, but it was two movies. Quentin disagreed until the editing stage, when he called Harvey up and said he was right, and he knew exactly how to split the film in two.


A movie he was hugely passionate about was the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He'd been a huge fan of the series since college – when he "smoked cigarettes and had hair" - and felt the time was right to bring it to the big screen. Michael Eisner, then head of Disney, disagreed. He felt the cost ($180 million to make the trilogy) was far too high and that nobody cared about Lord of the Rings anymore. Harvey, and the world, won in the end. The films grossed around $4 billion.

The Weinstein Company's black and white, French, silent movie the Artist was one of the few recent films that Harvey really had to fight for. It was the first time he'd been brought before the board of directors at his company to defend his choice. He won (naturally) and the film – which was made for $15 million – grossed $133 million and swept the awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture.

Other major Weinstein successes include "The King's Speech" (Budget: $15 million, Gross: $414 Million), "Django Unchained" (Budget: $100 Million, Gross: $425 million), "Chicago" (Budget: $45 million, Gross: $306 million) and "Silver Linings Playbook" (Budget: $21 million, Gross: $236 million).

They haven't all been big wins, however. Harvey recalled that two relative failures (among many, according to him) were "Kill Shot" and "Crossing Over."

"Oh my God, did I get that wrong."


Judy Garland fans rejoice! Harvey confirmed that Anne Hathaway will play the singer in an upcoming biopic that will start filming this summer. Anne didn't even have to audition, she just sang and won Harvey over.

NRA fans should not be rejoicing though. Harvey - who talked at length about his hatred for guns in America - hinted that he and Meryl Streep are working on an anti NRA movie that he promises will bring the gun industry to it's knees.