"I'm a guy who takes risks"–an interview with producer Graham King

On the eve of the Academy Awards, Craig Mclean of The Independent interviewed producer Graham King, who won the coveted Best Picture Oscar for The Departed two years ago. King’s next project is The Rum Diary with Johnny Depp; King’s GK Films has a long-term deal with Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil, and they have several other projects in development. “He and Depp hope to restart work on Shantaram, an epic that fell victim to last year’s writers’ strike,” writes Mclean, who praises Graham King’s “creative, adventurous” spirit.

“From Johnny‚Äôs point of view, I’m a guy who takes risks,” Graham King explains. “And I take risks with the kind of film-makers he likes to work with.” King has a long association with director Martin Scorsese, having produced Gangs of New York and The Aviator, as well as The Departed. King says, “I’d love to find something for Marty and Johnny to do together.”

Mclean notes that, despite the 38 Oscar nominations King’s films have earned, GK Films is “not a major studio;” he describes King as “an independent, nimble operator,” traits that should serve his projects well in uncertain economic times. “And I’m not a corporate guy,” says King. “I get involved with all aspects of the film-making.”

King is also helping to produce Gore Verbinski’s Rango; Mclean writes that Johnny Depp wrapped his role the day after he interviewed Graham King. How did King get involved with Rango? “Gore was looking for someone to help finance it and get it rolling before he went to a studio,” King explains. “An animation is complicated to make and takes a long time, and Gore wanted to get it out at a certain time.” The indefatigable producer has more high-profile projects coming to theaters in the next two years; to read more about his projects, see the article on the Zone’s Porch forum. We thank Theresa for sharing it with us. –Part-Time Poet