Producer Graham King Talks HUGO, the TOMB RAIDER Reboot, JERSEY BOYS, His Freddie Mercury Biopic, THE VAULT, More

     November 28, 2011


Last week, director Martin Scorsese released his first 3D film, Hugo.  Based on Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and written by John Logan, the film stars Asa Butterfield as a young boy secretly living in a train station in 1931 Paris.  As he attempts to piece together a puzzle that he’d been working on with his father, the results transform not only Hugo, but everyone he comes in contact with.  The impressive cast also includes Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Emily Mortimer, and Michael Stuhlbarg. You can watch a trailer here.

Anyway, last week I got to sit down with producer Graham King for an extended interview. During our wide ranging conversation, we talked about how Hugo came together, how he determines the budget for each production, and how much 3D added to the cost.  In addition, with King involved in so many other projects, I got updates on the Freddie Mercury biopic that he has in development with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Mercury, the Tomb Raider reboot, the Jersey Boys movie adaptation, The Battle of Britain, and The Vault which he’s developing with Johnny Depp‘s production company Infinitum Nihil.  Hit the jump for more.

Finally, if you plan on seeing Hugo, make sure to see it in 3D.  It’s definitely one of the best live-action 3D movies I’ve ever seen.  Scorsese once again proves he’s a master no matter the dimension.  And if you missed them, here’s my video interviews with Sir Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Emily Mortimer, and screenwriter John Logan.  And here’s Matt’s review of the film.

Graham-KingGraham King Time Index

  • King’s production slate has expanded since the last time we spoke to him a couple years ago.
  • 0:40 – He was brought the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret during post-production on The Departed.  He had been talking with Scorsese about doing a family film, and Hugo was the right fit.
  • 2:10 – King talks about determining the budget of a production, based on the “value of the film.”  He waited for Scorsese to finish Shutter Island, then set the project into motion.
  • 4:20 – Shooting in 3D added a layer to the budget, but King was excited to move into new technology with Scorsese.
  • 5:45 – The final cut is similar to the first cut of the movie.  Scorsese was set on making a 2 hour movie.
  • 6:45 – King has a “fantastic team of people” that look for new material.  He is always looking for a great story for his next project.
  • 8:20 – King talks about his approach to the movie business, and brings up the Freddie Mercury biopic and Jersey Boys adaptation he is developing.
  • hugo-movie-poster-029:40 – The script on the Freddie Mercury pic is currently being written.  There is no start date or director attached yet.
  • 10:35 – Queen bandmembers Brian May and Roger Taylor were involved in the development process.
  • 11:20 – Sacha Baron Cohen may sing the Queen songs as Freddie Mercury.  King remarks how much Cohen looks the part, and how that led to them collaborating on the project.
  • 12:40 – They hope to be shooting Jersey Boys next year.  Adapting the story from stage to the screen will take some work.
  • 13:30 – King is developing a Tomb Raider reboot.  The script was just submitted, and he talks about the origin story.
  • 14:15 – King has spoken to Angelina Jolie about Tomb Raider, but he doesn’t know about a cameo.  They recently worked together on In the Land of Blood and Honey.
  • 15:30 – The Freddie Mercury biopic and Jersey Boys are his next two projects.  The Battle of Britain is next in line.
  • 16:15 – King was a partner on Argo and World War Z.  He talks about his working relationship with Ben Affleck after The Town.
  • 17:30 – An adaptation of The Vault is in early development with Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil.


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