Ultimate Hollywood Players: Movies' Most Powerful Movers and Shakers
Hollywood can be a very difficult place where only the strong survive, and sometimes people are rewarded for very bad behavior. From ruthless producers to aspiring filmmakers to eccentric actors, here is a list of the most powerful Hollywood movers and shakers in film history.
Chili Palmer and Martin Weir in 'Get Shorty' (1995)
Chili Palmer (John Travolta) started out as a loan shark, but ended up a Hollywood producer and even got movie star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) to play the lead in his film. Palmer’s methods may seem unethical in some industries but Hollywood completely embraced him, while Weir perfectly personifies the image of movie-star entitlement.
Jack Slater in 'The Last Action Hero' (1993)
In the early ‘90s, the most popular action star in the world was Arnold Schwarzenegger. So it only made sense that when they were casting fictional action movie character Jack Slater for The Last Action Hero, they called the future California governor. After Slater’s biggest teenage fan ends up in one of his movies thanks to a magic ticket, the two team up and eventually stop the Ripper (Tom Noonan), who has escaped into the real world. Along the way, Slater comes to grips with the fact that he is actually a made-up movie character, and even briefly meets the actor who plays him… Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Nick Chapman in 'The Big Picture' (1989)
Nick Chapman (Kevin Bacon) is the perfect Hollywood cautionary tale. After making an award-winning short, he gets a deal to direct his dream movie but quickly is corrupted by the Hollywood lifestyle. Soon after he alienates his friends and family, he loses the deal to make his film and is forced to pick up the pieces of his life. It’s no wonder why director Christopher Guest’s 1989 comedy classic still resonates with so many aspiring filmmakers to this day.
Jack Woltz in 'The Godfather' (1972)
Jack Woltz (John Marley) is most famous for being made “an offer he can’t refuse.” Unfortunately for Woltz’s horse, he should have accepted the offer. As the founder of Woltz International Pictures, he refused to cast singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) in his “war picture” because of a personal vendetta. However, Fontane’s godfather just happened to be Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), so he tried to persuade the studio head in his own special way. But when Woltz turned him down, the Hollywood executive woke up to find the severed head of his prize racehorse in his bed along with him. There are some offers you just shouldn’t say no to!
Griffin Mill in 'The Player' (1992)
In this satirical masterpiece from director Robert Altman, he depicts Hollywood the way he saw it: as a sleazy place where the scrupulous are rewarded for their lack of morals. This absence of morality is best illustrated by the film’s lead character, Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), who kills an innocent screenwriter when he mistakes him as his stalker. While Mill feels some regret, he is more concerned with covering up his mistake and saving his career than he is with telling the truth. Welcome to Hollywood!
Buddy Ackerman in 'Swimming with Sharks' (1994)
Producer Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey) has become the stereotypical example of a bad Hollywood boss. The ruthless producer sets the standard for unethical behavior in Hollywood as he destroys his new assistant Guy (Frank Whaley) with needless sadistic and verbal attacks. This constant abuse eventually leads Guy to kidnap and torture Ackerman until he gets what he wants. Wow, Hollywood can be a tough town!
John Horatio Malkovich in 'Being John Malkovich' (1999)
Hollywood actors have always been portrayed as a bit strange, but never was that more true than with John Malkovich’s performance as John Horatio Malkovich in Being John Malkovich. Things get really strange for the already enigmatic actor when he learns that a portal into his brain has been discovered and strangers are controlling his actions, eventually leading him to become a world-famous puppeteer. “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich!”
Les Grossman in 'Tropic Thunder' (2008)
Another ill-tempered and verbally abusive Hollywood producer, Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) is also a lot of fun! The overweight studio executive may have been willing to let the star of his film die, but he is one heck of a good dancer!
Lester Siegel and John Chambers in 'Argo' (2012)
When CIA agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) needed help to stage a fake movie in order to rescue Americans from Iran in 1979, he called on longtime makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and veteran film producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin). Although the producer could never really explain what the title to his fake film meant (“Argo f**k yourself”), the ruse worked and Mendez’s mission was a success.
Lew Lord in 'The Muppet Movie' (1979)
Even the stoic Lew Lord (Orson Welles) couldn’t say no to Kermit the Frog and his friends. The producer and studio executive signed the Muppets to the standard “Rich and Famous” contract, allowing all their Hollywood dreams to come true.