Why producer Thomas Langmann took a risk on 'The Artist'
January 24th, 2012
02:05 PM ET

Why producer Thomas Langmann took a risk on 'The Artist'

Thomas Langmann, one of the producers of “The Artist,” always had a love for traditional cinema.

Not surprising for a man who grew up in a family immersed in filmmaking. His father was Claude Berri, an acclaimed French actor, writer, producer and director who won the Oscar in 1966 for the short film “Le Poulet,” and was involved in the industry for more than 50 years.

So when Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist's" director, approached him with his idea of a black-and-white silent movie about a silent movie star’s rise and fall, Langmann didn't say no because he had a dream.

“I thought if Michel would succeed in this picture then it would bring back black-and-white film,” Langmann told CNN. “It’s a risk that I took.”

The gamble certainly worked, at least in terms of its critical success. Anyone keeping up with the awards season would have noticed that “The Artist” has been taking it by storm. After gaining the top prize at the Producers Guild Awards and winning big at the Golden Globes this year, it was announced this morning that the movie has earned 10 Academy Award nominations.

“Being recognized by Hollywood is a dream true, it’s really an amazing moment," Langmann said. “You all like it for all the good reasons, [and] it’s a huge pleasure to see that.”

However, the journey was not at all easy for the producer. In the early stages, Langmann could not procure the backing of major studios, which were not convinced that a silent black-and-white movie would fare well in the age of 3-D and effects-heavy blockbusters, and had to use his own funds.

“As soon as we said to someone that it’s a black-and-white film, they used to say, ‘Well what’s your next project?’ or they would make a weird face,” he said. “So we had to put in our own money. My company invested a lot in this movie but that’s the way cinema was done for many years. That’s how I was raised.”

Langmann said that even though the way it was filmed makes “The Artist” unique, it’s not the main reason for all the positive response.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s black-and-white,” he said. “If a movie has a story that is filled with emotion, you can have as much pleasure and it’s very good for cinema. And younger audiences have come out of the theater saying, ‘It’s not boring.’”

For Langmann, whose father passed away in 2009, the Oscar nomination is in one way affirming his destiny to follow in his Berri’s footsteps.

“I feel very privileged,” he said. “My father came from a poor Jewish family. In those times he didn’t have the money to even buy a flight ticket, so the Oscar came by the mail to us. I wish he could have been alive to see this.”


soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. ohbrother123

    I truly doubt that this person gives a rat's patoot about what Hollywood thinks about his craft or his movie..........after all he is French and we all know that France is the best! LOL

    January 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    @ted. Your not alone, I don't care for that creep at all.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shirley

    WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR. Possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. Reminded me of Schindlers List except for republican corporate fatcats.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarter Than Thee

      Wow – I'm a flaming liberal and I enjoyed the film. There were two scenes I would have edited out, otherwise it was amusing, endearing and sitting in a sold out movie theatre in Manhattan where the ONLY sound was laughter at the funny moments PROVES this movie works. If you 3-D freaks are so Attention Deficit Disorder that you couldn't sit still or pay attention in order to understand it I'd reco you turn off and unplug your electronics. Life IS NOT ABOUT "The Voice" or "Real Housewives". Yes – I AM ACTUALLY SUPERIOR than you too, Shirley.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Try Harder

      Wow. You are hilarious. Good satire.

      January 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Try Harder

      Smarter Than Thee –
      you're right on the money. I was just hoping that Shirley was kidding. I didn't think anyone could be that dumb.

      January 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ted

    I saw this movie and it was a boring load of cr@p. Anyone who likes it is probably a Mitt Romney supporter. A repullsiiivve corporate raider Monty Burns Scrooge type.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarter Than Thee

      Wow – I'm a flaming liberal and I enjoyed the film. There were two scenes I would have edited out, otherwise it was amusing, endearing and sitting in a sold out movie theatre in Manhattan where the ONLY sounds was laughter at the funny moments PROVES this movie works. If you 3-D freaks are so Attention Deficit Disorder that you couldn't sit still or pay attention in order to understand it I'd reco you turn off and unplug your electronics. Life IS NOT ABOUT "The Voice" or "Real Housewives". Yes – I AM ACTUALLY SUPERIOR.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Try Harder

      It seems pretty obvious that Ted and Shirley are the same person. Let's stop giving him the attention he craves.

      January 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. carrieanne

    Its a surprisingly nice change from everything else out there! It deserves to win.

    January 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jenny

    i dont know. maybe he is a butt sniffer or something

    January 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TIM

    Could it be because he might be a GLEE fan and thought the idea was GLEETASTIC?

    January 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,980 other followers