TCM to Examine Life and Career of Oscar®-Winning Producer Richard D. Zanuck

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of Oscar®-winning producer Richard D. Zanuck this spring with the premiere of a new original documentary Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story of Richard D. Zanuck. Written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau (TCM's A Night at the Movies documentaries) and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank of Amblin Television, this 90-minute special will have its world premiere at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, taking place April 25-28 in Hollywood. Then, on Wednesday, May 8, TCM will present the world television premiere of the documentary, followed by three of Zanuck's acclaimed films: the Academy Award®-winning Driving Miss Daisy (1989), the blockbuster fantasy Cocoon (1985) and the powerful crime drama Compulsion (1959), the movie that launched Zanuck's producing career.

An inspiring portrait of a cinema icon, Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking examines 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 Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, 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 family members 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, 20th Century 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 had 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.

"Dick Zanuck humanized what it is to be a producer.  When he passed away, it was not a page of Hollywood history that was turned, it was an entire volume that was closed," said Bouzereau.

"Richard Zanuck gave us some of the most popular and acclaimed movies of the past 50 years, and as Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking shows, he did so by being one of Hollywood's toughest, yet most beloved and respected producers in the business," said Tom Brown, vice president of original productions for TCM. "Mr. Zanuck left behind a truly amazing legacy, both through the films he produced and the many informative interviews he gave. He was also extremely generous with his time in telling his story for this documentary, and we're very glad he had a chance to see the finished product and provide valuable feedback before he passed away. He remained a true professional and dedicated producer until the end."

TCM Salutes Richard D. Zanuck – Wednesday, May 8

8 p.m. – Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking (2013) – World Television Premiere – written, produced and directed by Laurent Bouzereau.

9:45 p.m. – Driving Miss Daisy (1989) – starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, Dan Aykroyd, Esther Rolle and Patti LuPone; directed by Bruce Beresford.

11:30 p.m. – Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking (2013) – Encore

1:15 a.m. – Cocoon (1985) – starring Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon, Jack Gilford, Herta Ware, Brian Dennehy and Steve Guttenberg; directed by Ron Howard.

3:30 a.m. – Compulsion (1959) – starring Dean Stockwell, Bradford Dillman, Orson Welles, Diane Varsi, E.G. Marshall and Martin Milner; directed by Richard Fleischer.

Laurent Bouzereau

Laurent Bouzereau is an award-winning filmmaker and author. He has created many documentaries on the making of films and on some of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Brian De Palma, William Friedkin, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, George Lucas, Peter Bogdanovich and many others. Bouzereau writes, produces and directs TCM's A Night at the Movies specials. He also directed Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir and has written or co-written 11 books on cinema, including The Art of Bond and, most recently, Alfred Hitchcock: Piece by Piece.

About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. Currently seen in more than 85 million homes, TCM features the insights of hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. As the foremost authority in classic films, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials, along with regular programming events that include The Essentials, hosted by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore, and the month-long 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also stages special events and screenings, such as the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise; produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs; and hosts a wealth of online content through the TCM homepage, which includes the TCM Movie Database, message boards, blogs and more.

TCM is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Turner Broadcasting creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

About DreamWorks/Amblin Television
DreamWorks/Amblin Television is Steven Spielberg’s television production company.   Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, who’ve been with the company for 18 years, serve as Co-Presidents, running the day to day operation and serving alongside Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer on the projects.
DreamWorks/Amblin Television currently produces five scripted series for five different networks.  

Under the Amblin Television label: KGB spy-drama The Americans for FX, which stars Keri Russell and Mathew Rhys and was just picked up for it’s second season; New series Under the Dome for CBS, which is based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, adapted by Brian K. Vaughn (Lost), and launches June 24th on CBS; Period drama The Borgias for Showtime, which stars Jeremy Irons and premieres it’s third season on April 7th.

Under the DreamWorks Television label:  Musical-drama series, Smash, starring Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Jack Davenport and Katherine McPhee for NBC which is currently airing it’s second season.   Sci-fi thriller, Falling Skies for TNT starring Noah Wyle, and created by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan).

In the long form arena, DreamWorks Television partnered with Playtone to produce The Pacific and Emmy award winning Band of Brothers for HBO. Separately DreamWorks Television produced the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Into the West for TNT and the Emmy winning and Golden Globe nominated Taken for the SciFi Channel.  Other past projects include: Emmy winning series United States of Tara, Rescue Me, Spin City, Father of the Pride, Freaks and Geeks, The Job, Boomtown, Undeclared, On the Lot, Contender, and Las Vegas.

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