Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is set to release the acclaimed original documentary Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck on DVD this September. Written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau (TCM's A Night at the Movies documentaries) and executive-produced by Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Steven Spielberg of Amblin Television, this 90-minute special celebrates the life and career of Oscar-winning producer Richard D. Zanuck, whose credits include such memorable films as Jaws (1975), The Verdict (1982),Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Planet of the Apes (2001) andRoad to Perdition (2002).
Set to be released on home video Sept. 8 and available exclusively through TCM's online store atshop.tcm.com, Don't Say No Until I Finish Talkingexamines the different facets of Zanuck's life and career, from his family legacy to his successes and challenges. It features a wide range of interviews, including extensive conversations with Zanuck himself. Also featured are interviews with such Hollywood notables as Clint Eastwood, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, William Friedkin, Morgan Freeman, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Alfred Uhry, Lawrence Gordon, Carl Gottlieb, Sherry Lansing and Tom Rothman, as well as wife Lili Zanuck and sons Dean and Harrison Zanuck.
Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking opens with Zanuck reminiscing about his legendary father, 20thCentury-Fox co-founder and studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, who warned Richard early on that he would have to overcome a great deal of baggage to be recognized as a great producer in his own right. The younger Zanuck remained undaunted. His father made sure he had a wide range of experience doing numerous jobs around the studio, providing the perfect foundation for a successful producing career.
For his first project, Zanuck chose director Richard Fleischer's Compulsion (1959), which was adapted from Meyer Levin's controversial novel and loosely based on the famous Leopold and Loeb murder trial. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, earning Best Actor honors for its lead actors, Dean Stockwell, Bradford Dillman and Orson Welles.
Richard Zanuck became president of 20th Century-Fox in the 1960s and was forced to shut down nearly the entire studio in order to prevent its complete collapse. He was able to turn its fortunes around by greenlighting a string of romantic comedy hits, followed by the movie that would save the studio overnight, The Sound of Music (1965). Zanuck continued greenlighting a number of hits for Fox, including Planet of the Apes (1968) and The French Connection (1971). Several expensive musical duds, including Doctor Doolittle (1967), Star! (1968) and Hello, Dolly! (1969), eventually led to Zanuck’s being fired by his father.
During the 1970s, Zanuck's career took off when he teamed with David Brown to form The Zanuck/Brown Company, which got its start with the cult horror film Sssssss (1973). They then hit gold with the Oscar-winning hit The Sting (1973). After producing Steven Spielberg's criminals-on-the-run comedy-drama The Sugarland Express (1974), Zanuck and Brown teamed up with the young filmmaker on the game-changing blockbuster Jaws (1975). In the 1980s and '90s, Zanuck scored critical and popular success with films like Sidney Lumet's The Verdict (1982), Ron Howard's Cocoon (1985) and Bruce Beresford's Best Picture Driving Miss Daisy (1989), the last earning him an Oscar for Best Picture.
Starting in 2001, Zanuck produced a series of projects directed by Tim Burton, including the remake of Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005),Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Dark Shadows (2012). Zanuck passed away in July 2012 at the age of 77.