Producer Talks Politics

Fighting to find space in a conference room at the Institute of Politics (IOP), movie aficionados and politicos crammed in to hear movie producer Jonathan Glickman discuss the public’s distaste for overly politicized films.

Glickman was coaxed into visiting Cambridge by current IOP fellow Meredith Bagby, who is hosting a study group this semester entitled “Hollywood and Washington: The Odd Couple.”

IOP Study Group Committee Chair Elise M. Stefanik ’06 said she was intrigued by the experiences Glickman talked about, in which overly political films were not well received by the public.

“It was interesting to see how much of an influence politics has over choosing scripts, portraying characters and marketing films to domestic and international audiences,” Stefanik said.

“Glickman” may not have the same ring as other Hollywood names, but his career achievements give great credibility to his words.

He is the current president of Spyglass Entertainment Group and has produced well known titles—Rush Hour, While You Were Sleeping and Grosse Point Blank, to name a few.

While Glickman’s career made him a worthy choice, he boasts other connections as well.

Glickman’s father is IOP Director Daniel R. Glickman, who attended the talk and said he was pleased to see his son in Cambridge.

“I wish I could say I were responsible for everything he’s done,” the elder Glickman said, “but it’s not true.”

The talk focused on the portrayal of politics, violence and cultural values in film, and how these factors can influence box-office success.

Bagby—an author of six published political works, former member of political think tank Third Millennium and a current executive of Dreamworks SKG—also helped lead the discussion.

Bagby described Glickman as someone weary of political films, calling him “very realistic, [and] very honest about the success of political movies.”

At 34, Glickman’s list of films is impressive. And while he may be a relative newcomer to the world of producing, Glickman’s father said his love of films has been apparent since his early years.

According to the elder Glickman, his son would often watch up to four films per weekend while his father was on Congressional business.

“My wife and I were very interested in film,” Daniel Glickman said. “He had an interest in film from a very early age.”

Jonathan Glickman confirmed his father’s account.

As a teenager, his mother introduced him to revered directors Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen.

“The whole family was interested in show-biz,” Jonathan Glickman said.

Daniel Glickman said that hearing his son speak on his own turf made him “very proud.”