The Hollywood track record of producer Jerry Weintraub, the focus of an HBO doc airing tonight called My Way, is nothing to crow about. Out of 46 films he’s produced since the mid ’60s, three could be called good — William Friedkin‘s Cruising, Jean-Claude Tramont‘s All Night Long, and Barry Levinson‘s Diner.
Yes, Weintraub exec produced Robert Altman‘s Nashville, but he was probably just a money guy and had zilch to do with content. The other 40 or so (obviously excluding the future projects) have been more or less mulch. Yes, I’m including Oh, God! in that group.
I’m presuming that Steven Soderbergh‘s Liberace, which Weintraub is producing with Michael Douglas in the title role, is going to be an exceptional biopic, but even if you count that Weintraub’s good film tally is still 4 out of 46.
My impression of him over the years is that his colorful career and personality are a lot more interesting than what he’s put on the screen. I’m presuming that the doc realizes this and won’t try to tribute Weintraub for being anything more than a big operator with the gift of gab who’s gotten around and rubbed shoulders with legends for the last 50 years and made a lot of dough first and foremost — a guy who talks it a little bit better than he walks it.
We’ve all had this feeling, I think, that Weintraub, who started in the music business, “knows guys who know guys,” if you catch my drift.
I love this Weintraub quote, taken from a Movieline story: “I know so many people in the world [and] have a very big phone book and a very long reach around the world. And I think — I don’t think, I know — that 95 percent of the people who I know who weren’t born into success who have become successful and done things that are different and made a lot of money and had a lot of excitement in their life are people who never hear the word ‘no.‘”
A friend feels “it’s funny how My Way producer and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter did a serious takedown of Weintraub while at Spy, but now sucks up and makes an HBO documentary about him.”