Producer Jerry Weintraub Talks Doing It ‘His Way’ In Hollywood
First Published: April 4, 2011 1:03 PM EDT Credit: Norman Jean Roy/HBO
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There are very few things producer Jerry Weintraub hasn’t done in his illustrious Hollywood career – from his behind-the-lens work on Hollywood blockbusters like the original “Karate Kid” film series and the modern-day “Ocean’s Eleven” film franchise, to being the first man to ever take Elvis Presley on tour.
As a result, there are very few A-list’ers Jerry hasn’t worked with in his career, which has spanned seven decades. From George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, to Elvis, Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra – indeed, Jerry has worked with them all.
However, there are still two names that Jerry says he has not yet had the chance to work with – and that he’d still love to work with before it’s all said and done.
“There are two stars that I would love to work with and that’s [Leonardo] DiCaprio and Johnny Depp,” the iconic producer revealed to reporters during a conference call to promote his upcoming HBO documentary, “His Way,” which premieres on the network on Monday, April 4.
“I haven’t worked with either one of them and I love them both. I think they are both brilliant,” Weintraub noted.
“His Way” chronicles Weintraub’s journey from working in the mailroom of the famed William Morris agency fresh out of the military to soon landing a gig as an agent at rival MCA weeks later, vaulting to him to what would be a legendary career of networking, negotiating — and not taking “no” for an answer.
Not to mention working hand-in-hand as a promoter for music gods Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Neil Diamond, The Carpenters, Elvis and Sinatra, as well as his candid recollections of loves lost and found, including currently being romantically linked to two women concurrently, at the still spry age of 73.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In 1965, Weintraub married singer/entertainer Jane Morgan – who is 17 years his senior. The two have four children together and are still married to this day. All that despite the fact that for the past two decades, Weintraub has lived with long-time girlfriend Susie Elkins, who is more than 20 years his junior.
While it may seem complicated to most, to Weintraub and his two long-time loves, it’s quite simple. He fell in love with Elkins – a fellow movie producer – and Morgan insisted a divorce wasn’t necessary; she saw it as an easier alternative to avoid years of legal battles and the messy division of Weintraub’s vast estate.
Yet, it’s a feat not lost on Weintraub’s contemporaries, who praised his romantic juggling in “His Way.”
“I couldn’t pull that off,” says a litany of stars, friends and colleagues – one after the other – in a “His Way” confessional montage.
Complete with interviews from the stars who knew him best – Clooney, Pitt, Roberts, and even President George H. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who have been longtime friends of Weintraub’s, “His Way” at its core is a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, too-good-to-be-true/only in Hollywood tale.
But make no mistake – every bit of it is the life Weintraub has lived.
While he wasn’t involved in the creative process of “His Way” (other than lending his story to serve as the documentary’s backbone), would Weintraub ever be interested in bringing his catalogue of tall – but true – tales to the big screen as a scripted feature?
“One, I don’t know if there will ever be one. Two, I don’t want to work on or produce it,” he admitted to reporters.
Should someone else option the story into a feature film, Weintraub does have one actor in mind whom he thinks would be great in the role of himself.
“Will Smith,” he joked with reporters.
Despite decades upon decades of success, Weintraub has no intentions of slowing down. He has a slew of projects in development, including re-teaming with Clooney for the heist caper “The Belmont Boys,” and the upcoming Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, for which the producer gushed over his leading men.
“If you could get Michael Douglas and Matt Damon to do a movie for you and have Steven Soderbergh directing it… wouldn’t you do it?” he proposed to reporters.
But, certainly retirement has to be an option at some point, right? Not so fast.
“I don’t know the word ‘retirement’. It’s not in my vocabulary. They’re going to take me out with my boots on,” Weintraub insisted.
If the day ever arrives where he decides to kick his feet up and step away from producing, Weintraub said there is one thing, through it all, he is most proud over his half-century domination of Hollywood.
“My bank account,” the living legend deadpanned.
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