Close to 1000 people came to the film of the above title, a documentary about the life and work of film producer Richard Zanuck Monday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Film Center in Beverly Hills. After a short, heartfelt intro by Dick’s wife and soulmate Lili, Stephen Spielberg spoke and said, “Everything I learned about producing, I learned from Dick.” He talked about how Dick hired him to direct his first film, Sugarland Express. And how Dick and his partner David Brown backed him and fought the studio when Jaws was running way over budget. (It went on to become the highest grossing film up to that time — and launched Spielberg’s career.)
Among people people interviewed in the film were Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Pfeiffer, directors, screen writers, and Dick’s family.
He was head of 20th Century Fox at age 27, was subsequently fired, formed a partnership with Brown that produced The Sting, Jaws, The Verdict, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and then with Lili, Driving Miss Daisy. Then 6 pictures in a row with Tim Burton. A lot of archival photos and films of his mom and dad and sisters, and of him hanging out on the Fox lot from age 5, pictures of him playing football in high school and swimming the butterfly in his mid-’70s.
What emerged was a guy who was not just respected, but loved by the people he worked with. He fought tooth and nail for his directors. A guy came up to me afterwards and said, years from now, people won’t be saying that Dick was the son of Darryl Zanuck, but that Darryl was Dick Zanuck’s father.
The title is a takeoff on the book about Darryl titled Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking. The movie was shot in 2011 and will debut in April at the Turner Classic Movies film festival in Hollywood, then air on the network the following month. https://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/zanuck-honored-academy-screening-documentary-his-life-58901