MAK­ING LIVE NA­TION’S CON­NEC­TIONS SING

Heather Parry brought the con­cert biz gi­ant into the world of “A Star Is Born”

Variety - - Focus - By JEM ASWAD

How does Heather Parry, pres­i­dent of Live Na­tion Prods., op­er­ate? A telling ex­am­ple comes in an­swer to a ques­tion about be­com­ing in­volved with “A Star Is Born,” the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga ve­hi­cle that is al­ready one of the big­gest films of the year.

“I know Bradley, and as soon as I heard he was go­ing to di­rect it I called his agent, Dave Bugliari, who was on a chair­lift ski­ing,” Parry re­calls. “I said, ‘How does Live Na­tion get in­volved with this movie? We have venues and fes­ti­vals and con­cert tours and all these as­sets and ways we can help you mar­ket,’ and he was like, ‘I’m on a chair­lift!’ But to his credit, he called me right back and then talked to Bradley. Then I went to a din­ner party for Martha Ste­wart at Bill Ger­ber’s house — he’s one of the pro­duc­ers of the film — and while ev­ery­body was talk­ing to Martha about her recipes, I was in the cor­ner pitch­ing Bill on ‘A Star Is Born.’ We had meet­ings and showed them our me­dia mar­ket­ing deck and how pas­sion­ate we were about it, and here we are.”

In short, she’s like a liv­ing Linkedin pro­file with a re­lent­less drive who rarely lets an op­por­tu­nity pass, and she’s brought that en­ergy to the film and tele­vi­sion divi­sion of the live- en­ter­tain­ment gi­ant, which she launched qui­etly in De­cem­ber 2015. Since then, the com­pany has turned out the Sean “Diddy” Combs doc­u­men­tary “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story”; the Lady Gaga doc “Five Foot Two”; “Be­liever,” about Imag­ine Drag­ons front­man Dan Reynolds’ re­la­tion­ship with the Mor­mon church and its stance on LGBTQ is­sues; the Ea­gles of Death Metal doc­u­men­tary “Nos Amis,” and the scripted film “The Af­ter Party,” star­ring Wiz Khal­ifa, French Mon­tana and Teyana Tay­lor.

In the pipe­line are films on pop singers Noah Cyrus (Mi­ley’s sis­ter) and Kim Pe­tras (a trans artist), as well as its first se­ries project “From Cra­dle to Stage,” based on the book writ­ten by Vir­ginia Han­lon Grohl, mother of Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl, which in­cludes sto­ries from other mu­si­cian moms, Dr. Dre’s mother Verna Grif­fin, Ja­nis Wine­house and Mar­i­anne Stipe among them.

“Heather’s pres­ence alone com­mands your full at­ten­tion,” Combs says of Parry. “She is bril­liant, driven and hun­gry to do big things — so it’s no sur­prise that she keeps push­ing the bounds of cre­ativ­ity with her work.”

Parry’s power base is her for­mi­da­ble list of con­tacts, which be­gan dur­ing her dozen years at MTV. Start­ing out as a 22-year- old in MTV’S west coast news divi­sion, she rose to be­come its bureau chief — pro­duc­ing “The Week in Rock,” among other projects — and then segued into film de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion. There, she ac­quired the first “Twi­light” man­u­script, but MTV par­ent Vi­a­com did not see the po­ten­tial of the fran­chise — which ended up rak­ing in bil­lions of dol­lars — and ul­ti­mately the rights were sold to Sum­mit En­ter­tain­ment.

She left MTV in 2005 to be­come head of film at Adam San­dler’s Happy Madi­son Prods., where over the next 10 years she pro­duced “The House Bunny,” “Just Go With It” and “Pixels.” Days af­ter she started at Live Na­tion, Colin Hanks (whom she’d met dur­ing her years at Happy Madi­son) pitched her on the Ea­gles of Death Metal film — dur­ing her birth­day party — and her first project at the com­pany was un­der way.

Over the past three years, Live Na­tion it­self has be­come an idea gen­er­a­tor for her divi­sion: Be­cause its of­fices also house Mav­er­ick Man­age­ment, sev­eral of Parry’s projects were hatched with­out her hav­ing to leave the com­pany grounds. “That’s how ‘Can’t Stop’ started — [Live Na­tion CEO] Michael Rapino called and said, ‘Hey, are you in

Heather’s pres­ence alone com­mands your full at­ten­tion. She is bril­liant, driven and hun­gry to do big things — so it’s no sur­prise that she keeps push­ing the bounds of cre­ativ­ity with her work.”

Sean “Diddy” Combs

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Live Na­tion’s Heather Parry took the con­cert busi­ness gi­ant into filmed en­ter­tain­ment with a divi­sion she started in 2015.

the of­fice? We’re hav­ing a Bad Boy tour meet­ing,’ so I jumped in,” she re­calls.

“That’s also how ‘Be­liever’ hap­pened — they were in a meet­ing next door — and Gaga, I sit next to her man­ager, Bobby Camp­bell. Noah Cyrus’ man­ager, Adam Le­ber, is to my left — I was burn­ing a can­dle and she walked in and said, ‘Hey, it smells re­ally good in here, I’m Noah!’ and we started talk­ing and the project de­vel­oped from there.

“It’s a place where things are con­stantly hap­pen­ing,” she con­cludes. “Talk about syn­ergy: You light a can­dle and an artist ap­pears!”

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