As a Hollywood producer, Frank Marshall’s movies have garnered hundreds of millions of dollars since he began investing in the industry in the early 1970’s.
From “Gremlins” to “Back to the Future” to the entire “Indiana Jones” franchise, Marshall has had his hand on some of the most successful films of the last 30 years.
Most recently, he produced the “Bourne” trilogy, which started with “Identity” in 2002 and ended with “Ultimatum” in 2007. His next projects are the “Spiderwick Chronicles” slated for a February 2008 release and the highly anticipated fourth installment of “Indiana Jones.”
During a phone interview with me, Marshall talked about a possible fourth film for “Bourne,” learning from critical and box office flops, and why actor Shia LaBeouf (“Transformers”) is the next big star in Hollywood.
After five years, are you sad to see the Bourne trilogy come to an end?
I think it was our goal to wrap everything up in a satisfying way and I think we got there. On the other hand, we kind of left the door open for a fourth if we can come up with a story.
“The Bourne Ultimatum” had a budget of $110 million and surpassed that by bringing in $227 at the U.S. box office. As a producer, are you on set counting up each car explosion and adding how much the production is spending?
Yeah, I believe as a producer it’s my job to oversee things and also problem-solve. I like to be on the set. I really enjoy the filmmaking process and being amongst all the explosions.
As a producer, do critical flops hurt just as much as box office flops?
I think we take it all personal. We all start out wanting to make a good movie. No one starts off to make movies that don’t work. But things happen along the way and sometimes that happens. You just have to learn something from [the flops] and move on.
You’ve produced a lot of work adapted from other sources. What are your thoughts on original work? Is it just hard to find quality work written solely for the screen?
Yeah, it’s really difficult to find. Those original ideas are too few and far between. But when they do come around you notice them and they can be a gem.
Do you think Hollywood has gone a little overboard with the adaptation of things? I mean, I can understand novels and short stories, but video games?
Yes. I am also very hesitant to remake things. I like new stories. Trying to make a movie out of a game, it’s kind of going the wrong way. I’d rather see the game come out of the movie.
Earlier in their careers you’ve worked with people like Tom Hanks, Josh Brolin, Christian Bale – all of whom are huge actors right now. How do you feel watching these actors now knowing that you knew them before they made a name for themselves?
I think its great. They’ve obviously worked hard and deserve all the accolades they’re getting. When I worked with Christian Bale back when he was around 10 (in “Empire of the Sun”), I could see that he had talent; same for Henry Thomas (“E.T.”). It’s just wonderful to see these kids grow up to be great actors.
Can you see anyone right now that you are working with that could fall under that same category and be something big in a few years?
Shia LaBeouf. He’s extremely talented. He’s great in “Indiana Jones” and he’s going to go on and have a great career.