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She met Barrymore in Seattle, where Juvonen’s brother was working as a producer’s assistant on Barrymore’s Mad Love. A few weeks later, the actress left a message on her answering machine offering her a job as her partner. Juvonen, who at the time was working in San Francisco as sax man Clarence Clemons’s personal assistant, thought it was a joke. At the same time, she saw a certain logic. She thought to herself, “I can make someone’s life work.” Since then, Flower Films has produced a number of movies, including Fox 2000’s romantic hit Never Been Kissed, Columbia’s Charlie’s Angels (whose sequel they are now preparing), and Miramax Films’ upcoming Duplex, in which Barrymore stars opposite Ben Stiller.
As Juvonen proves, there’s no telling who will make a good producer. Stuart Cornfeld, Ben Stiller’s head of production at Red Hour Films, has credits stretching back to executive producer on 1980’s The Elephant Man, but David Siegel started as the assistant to Phillippe’s William Morris agent, and Golightly toiled as a Creative Artists Agency assistant and sometime screenwriter before he worked for Cage.
Still, while a partner may be an actor’s-equal inside the company, the business is built on the star’s name and what the star wants to do. Producing powerhouse Scott Rudin makes what Scott Rudin wants to make, but Stuart Cornfeld makes what Ben Stiller wants to make. As Cornfeld] points out, however, very, very few producers are Scott Rudin. “I know that people like working with me and have1 respect for me,” Cornfeld says. “But Ben] Stiller is a real element that can attach to a] movie and get it made. I prefer the heightened access, credibility, and respect that I] get from this affiliation, rather thanl saying, ‘Gee, I did this all myself.’”
Producing partners also face the parasite factor the unpleasant task of serving as one more point of contact for those who want to get to the actor, not the producer. “There are people who are nicer to me because I am Nic’s partner,” Golightly says dryly. “Over the long run, you figure out who they are, and they get weeded out in a Darwinian fashion.”
The crowd disperses quickly at the end of the Dan Band’s performance, but not before the Siegels and Freimann make their way to Green and Barrymore’sj table to commune not with the star attractions but with Juvonen anc^ Golightly. It’s a chance to say hello to the] kinds of producers they want to be.
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