Grant Curtis has executive produced blockbuster hits such as The Gift, Drag Me To Hell, Oz the Great and Powerful, and most notably Sam Raimi's Spider Man trilogy. Curtis was at Loyola Marymount University for a student-moderated interview in partnership with LMU's ROAR network. Here are some highlights:
You started out as Sam Raimi's assistant. How did that happen?
I was actually living here [Los Angeles] when my neighbor told me that a director was looking for an assistant. At the time I don't think I realized it was Sam. I interviewed and, somehow, I got the job.
What's it like working with him?
He's great. I've collaborated with him throughout most of my career, and I don't think that would be possible if we didn't click on a personal level. And that's really what Hollywood is about. It's about making connections and working with people you work well with.
You made cameos in two of the Spider Man movies. What was that like?
I played a hot-dog vendor in the first movie. In the second, I was a cop who gets knocked out. It was a blast.
So any possibility of you becoming an actor?
God no. I can't act. There are people who think they can act. I am very certain that I cannot act. Acting is much harder than people believe it to be. It looks easy because these actors are literally paid to make what they do look natural. So, no. I think I'll stick to producing.
Who has been your favorite actor to work with?
You know, most of the actors I've worked with have been great to work with. As a producer, you interact with them on a daily basis when you're filming and I've been able to collaborate really well with some actors. I wouldn't say I have a favorite.
Do you have a least favorite?
There are bound to be people you disagree with. But no. No one stands out as being especially challenging to work with.
Who's an actor or an actress you want to work with?
That's a tough one, especially because there's so much talent out there right now. I'd have to say Brad Pitt. He's great. Did you know we both went to the same University [University of Central Missouri]? Obviously when you think of Missouri, you don't think of the film industry. But in a way, he put us on the map.
What advice do you have for people aspiring to work in the film industry?
Do everything. Do the jobs that no one wants to do. And, this is very important, be a good person. It sounds strange but you can't forget that this industry is all about who you know. As I said, people want to work with people who they enjoy working with. People want to work with nice people.