Hollywood mega-producer Brian Grazer: how making ‘Splash’ taught him to get beyond hearing ‘no’ and made his career


Brian Grazer is one of the most successful producers in Hollywood, with such credits to his name as “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind,” and “Arrested Development.”

But it wasn’t always so.

In this clip, he talks about a defining moment in his career, when he was about 30 years old. It involved the making of his second film, “Splash,” starring emerging talents Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.

Time and again, Grazer was told that nobody wanted a story about a mermaid. Then, remarkably, a second mermaid script was hot in Hollywood — featuring a superstar screenwriter, director and actors. Suddenly, everybody wanted that script.

As Grazer writes in his book,
A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life,” “I needed to understand what people were saying no to. Were they saying no to a comedy? Were they saying no to a mermaid fantasy? Were they saying no to me — Brian Grazer?”

He stuck with his vision, creating a love story about a mermaid who comes to land and falls in love with a boy.

The film, produced by Grazer and directed by Ron Howard, became the 1984 hit, “Splash,” and the competing mermaid film never even got made. As Grazer tells us, the lessons of this experience set him up for the rest of his career success.

Produced by Diane Galligan and Alana Kakoyiannis. Edited by Jason Gaines.

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