Last month, while you were chillaxing in your break cocoon, the New York Times devoted an article to lesser-talked-about Wesleyan filmmaker and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer ’97, whose latest release, Gangster Squad, stars Sean Penn in the story “of the struggle between good and evil on the streets of Los Angeles, in a post-World War II era that was known for shady compromise between the two.”
Unlike his Cardinal peers, Fleischer wasn’t a film major at Wesleyan. He got involved in the industry by way of coding Web sites during the dot-com boom, which led him to Los Angeles, which led him to Mike White ’92 (who co-produced and wrote Dawson’s Creek and Freaks & Geeks, but whom you might more readily recognize from his classic role in School of Rock, which he also wrote). Then, Fleischer moved up the ranks. About halfway through the Times article comes a classic, tried-and-true glimpse into the innerworkings of what has come to be termed the “WesleyanMafia” in Hollywood, which is apparently the real engine behind Fleischer’s early career:
Before long he was building sites for big companies like Microsoft.
That led to a Web-related job in Los Angeles, where he met Mike White [’92], a filmmaker and television producer who had also attended Wesleyan and who got Mr. Fleischer hired as a production assistant on the TV series “Dawson’s Creek.”
It was a short step to a job as assistant to the director Miguel Arteta [’89], another member of Wesleyan’s movie mafia, on the film “Chuck & Buck,” starring and written by Mr. White.
I don’t like to name drop, but the first person to tell me about this was the President of the United States. I was interviewing the president for an interview that’s going to be in O magazine . . . and as I sat down putting on my mic, he said ‘have you seen this movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild?’ I hadn’t even heard the phrase so I didn’t even know what he was talking about. And since then at least a dozen different people said to me, ‘have you seen this movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, you have got to see this film.’
“Normally the thought of an independently financed film makes me physically ill. But studios have stopped taking my pitches for movies with human protagonists.”
Guys! Michael Bay ’86, critically acclaimed misunderstood director of the Transformers series (which he recently bashed) and the occasional Victoria’s Secret commercial, needs your help. Inspired by Amanda Palmer ’98’s crowdfunding success story, Bay has taken to Kickstarter to fund his latest project, Bad Boys III, which you can be assured will feature all the hallmarks of great cinema in the Book of Bay: “10-15 story pyrotechnics, blast-proof camera cranes, chicks with big cans, with minimal-to-no popcorn fare-type elements, like story or plot.” The movie will also feature a scene in which “some guy basejumps into the space between the Statue of Liberty’s tits.” Hey, did you hear about that Sight & Sound poll?
If you donate a dollar, you will receive a personal thank-you email from Michael Bay. If you donate $25 million, you will receive a signed photo of Michael Bay on a sweet motorcycle. Seems like an obvious choice to me.
Jacob Fleisher ’99 writes in to let current Wes Students know that it’s only a matter of time before he stars on the latest Stargate spinoff or is fighting Sharktopi along side Lorenzo Lamas. Here is Fleisher’s Science Fiction Audition Tape, which was directed and edited by Nick Hoffa ’98. As Fleisher explains it:
My audition for every character from every science fiction TV show or Movie that has ever been made, or ever will be made. I am available to star in any upcoming science fiction blockbusters.