Amazon's now-cancelled The Last Tycoon released in July to mixed reviews, but despite what critics are saying, audiences love the show. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished novel of the same name, The Last Tycoon tells the story of major film producer Monroe Stahr and his elegant lifestyle and successful run in 1930s Hollywood. Monroe is the golden boy, and despite the period setting, he shares characteristics with many of today's big Hollywood producers. The Last Tycoon may take place in the 1930s, but it's the perfect allusion to how producers like Kevin Feige and Kathleen Kennedy are the real auteurs behind our modern blockbusters.
Producers Are The Most Important Piece Of The Film Puzzle
If there's one thing The Last Tycoon is saying about moviemaking, it's that film producers are the most important people in the creation of a movie. From the first episode of #TheLastTycoon to the last, the producers are the ones who are making sure everything is flowing smoothly, and of course, Monroe Stahr is the best at it.
The show makes it particularly clear that Monroe is the commanding voice behind all the movies made at Brady-American Motion Pictures. Even auteur directors don't question Monroe's decisions because they know that Monroe knows what's right. Monroe's successful background in the industry gives him tremendous power in the moviemaking process, making him the most important piece in the puzzle. At Brady-American, Monroe Stahr is the man with the vision.
In one particular scene Monroe and other members of his studio are screening a film, and to the detriment of everyone present, said film was horrible. In an instant you could see Monroe taking notes, later following up to fire the lead actor and hire a new screenwriter to rewrite the entire movie. After everything is said and done, the new and revised film wins an Oscar for Best Picture. That's the kind of superstar Monroe Stahr is, and the kind of superstar Kevin Feige is, too.
Monroe Stahr's Resemblance To Today's Top Producers
Like Feige with Marvel Studios, Monroe Stahr created a collection of Stahr-branded films that defined Brady-American Motion Pictures. Feige, of course, is known for creating the most financially successful franchise in Hollywood history with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That's no easy task. With almost ten years under its belt, the MCU has had to follow strict guidelines to make the cinematic timeline run smoothly. Though each film takes place in the same universe, every one must feel different than the one before and after.
That means that Feige must get the right screenwriters, directors, actors and crew for the job, and make it all fit together seamlessly. While his track record is not perfect, there are more good films than bad films in the MCU, and at the end of the day, they all make a substantial amount of money. Monroe Stahr delivers this in The Last Tycoon to utter perfection.
Monroe may not have built a connected universe, but all the films that garnered the Monroe Stahr producer credit in The Last Tycoon were destined for greatness. In almost every scene where Monroe was producing a film, he would always have a script in his hands, and when he wasn't reading or taking notes, he would be casting. Monroe was even managing the public lives of his star actors and made their lives better by it. These are the type of producers that today's movies need, and names like Kevin Feige and Kathleen Kennedy are delivering just that.
Interestingly, the aforementioned scene where Monroe Stahr ordered a page-one rewrite of a film and fired almost every studio member tied to it, heavily resembles the recent decisions that producer Kathleen Kennedy has made with her Star Wars films. (She replaced directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with Ron Howard in the Untitled Han Solo movie, as well as replaced Colin Trevorrow with J.J. Abrams in 2019's Star Wars: Episode IX.) There's really no way to know what truly goes on behind the scenes at Lucasfilm, but Kennedy's track record is a sign that we should trust her decisions.
We can, though, see exactly what happens in Monroe's film studio in The Last Tycoon, and like Kennedy, Monroe is always looking out for the best. Producers are in charge of making the moviemaking experience run smoothly for everyone in production, unfortunately that sometimes means that some key members of the production team must go when necessary.
Monroe was never afraid to let some people go if it was best for his films. He even let go his brother-in-law, who was the primary screenwriter in one of the studio's movies that needed a rewrite. And when time called to pull the plug on certain investors that weren't loyal to the studio's vision, Monroe didn't hesitate to make the right call and let them go.
Monroe Stahr The Golden Boy
Monroe Stahr, like Feige and Kennedy, is a genius. The Last Tycoon gave us the best representation of a modern-day producer, even with a period representation of the '30s. While the show was canceled after just one season, it elegantly presented why the producer is one, if not the most important part of the film production process.
You can watch Season 1 of The Last Tycoon now on Amazon Prime.