Sherry Lansing was a movie producer behind such hits as 1987’s Fatal Attraction with Michael Douglas and 1993’s Indecent Proposal with Demi Moore, and then she became the head of Paramount Pictures.
The 72-year-old Northwestern graduate has since retired from the business.
But now she has shared her stories with Stephen Galloway in the biography Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing And The Making Of A Hollywood Groundbreaker, which will hit bookstores on April 25. In an expert shared by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, the brainy beauty dishes on everyone from Angelina Jolie to Tom Cruise.
The details are fascinating.
One of her best stories is about working with Jolie on the 2001 film Tomb Raider.
When casting was being discussed, Angelina’s father Jon Voight and family friend Jane Fonda called Sherry to warn her that the actress was ‘extremely fragile.’By this point Angelina had already won an Oscar and had a dozen hits under her belt.
With Lansing’s blessing, Tomb Raider director Simon West flew to Mexico to meet Jolie, who was on the set of Original Sin. ‘She said: “Look, I want to do it, but I know what my reputation is, and I’ll do anything you want to prove that I’m worthy. I’ll be reliable, and I’ll turn up, and I’ll work hard,” West said.’
The director also reported to Lansing that Jolie insisted: ‘I don’t care if the studio wants to drug test me every day.’
They ended up drug testing Jolie.
‘We were sufficiently worried that we obliged her to undergo random drug tests — and not just urine tests but also blood tests,’ said then-Paramount president John Goldwyn.
‘There were issues with the studio and producers being very nervous about Angelina,’ he said.
‘There was a discussion with the group: “We’re looking for someone to oversee or keep an eye on her because we’re all making the film.”‘
It was added: ‘That guy Bobby Klein came up as somebody who had worked in that world of psychotherapy or drug management or whatever. He was brought in to supervise Angelina.’Klein was subsequently fired during production for harassing an assistant.
Voight was somehow cast in the film as Lord Richard Croft, perhaps because he insisted he needed to be there to keep an eye on his daughter. Lansing does not confirm this.
Angelina has said Tomb Raider turned her life around as shooting took her to Cambodia, where she met Maddox. She later adopted the child, who has been with her ever since. Tomb Raider went on to make nearly $300m worldwide.
Lansing also talked about Tom Cruise to the Reporter.
‘I’ve known Tom since Taps. I knew his family. He was at that time one of the most gifted actors — you could see right away. He’s one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve ever worked with,’ she said.
When asked about his religious beliefs, Lansing said: ‘I know he’s a Scientologist, but I never saw him do anything that made anybody uncomfortable. I think everyone is entitled to their belief system.’
As for Mel Gibson she said: ‘I loved Hacksaw Ridge. Mel is very hardworking, very much understands the problems of the studio system. I have only had positive experiences with him. In my experience, he has never been homophobic or anti-Semitic.’
Dish: In the book Leading Lady written by Stephen Galloway, Sherry Lansing reveals Angelina Jolie was drug tested on the 2001 hit Tomb Raider. The Hollywood Reporter shared an excerpt on Wednesday b-error
Lansing appears on the cover of THR b-error
Tough dad: When casting was being discussed, Angelina’s father Jon Voight and family friend Jane Fonda called Sherry to warn her that the actress was ‘extremely fragile.’ He was cast in the film too
Her parents: The star’s mother Marcheline and her dad Jon in 1977
Pals: Jolie and Lansing at the Tomb Raider: Cradle Of Life premiere in LA in 2003
The A lister now: Here the star is seen in Cambodia in February plugging her new directorial effort First They Killed My Father
A fan of the superstar: Of Tom Cruise she said: ‘He’s one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve ever worked with’
They go way back: She also said, ‘I’ve known Tom since Taps. I knew his family. He was at that time one of the most gifted actors — you could see right away.’ Pictured October
Still on the red carpet: Lansing seen here in February at an AARP event