Inside The Mind Of Film Producer Adi Shankar

di is patient. I learned this as I needled my way through thousands of people after an extended press junket during NYCC. The Javits Center being the behemoth it is, we could not find the designated spot for our interview. Being an avid comic book fan and a film producer, Adi was on the top of my ‘must interview’ list. Granted this might seem audacious considering you might think I had the likes of Kanye West or Brad Pitt in the echelon of interviews, but I had my reasons. Producers rarely get any love. Having done interviews and junkets myself, I feel the focus is usually on the director or actors; sometimes even the writer. It’s like looking at a building and going the only important pieces are the designer and architect. How about the individual that brought them together? Isn’t there a level of interest that should be attributed outside of the industry? So many questions to answer but the only thing on my mind as I almost knocked over a Bumblebee cosplayer was that I could not miss this meeting.

But who is Adi Shankar? I mean he looks like the cool Hollywood type with the intriguing name and face paint. Is he eccentric? Unapproachable? Existentialistic? He is more than just the youngest independent producer in history to have a number one at the box office. Or the guy who drives studios crazy with his introspective shorts on some of our favorite comic book heroes (and villains). He has given us Lone Survivor, The Grey, Dredd, and Killing Them Softly, amongst many others. The man is intriguing, doing AMAs on Reddit and even putting out a 13 rule mantra of breaking into Hollywood itself (which was the basis of my ‘Rise of the Collective’ article a few months back).

The-Grey-2

I made it to Adi as he was in between sessions and was looking to grab a bite to eat. He introduced me to his girlfriend at the time, Rachel, and I was ready to reschedule. Instead, Adi went for the interview, and even more so, guerrilla  style. This was my first bloc of interviews that were done on my time, more Adam Carolla-esque in that I was talking to peers and colleagues. I knew I had Mike Tyson in half an hour, but this was different. And different tends to be worth the risk. I rattled off a handful of honest to god run of the mill questions that I cringe hearing back (“Did you anticipate Dredd doing what it did in the box office?”, “How does it feel to be a minority in film?”) before we were inexplicably saved by Michael Uslan (the godfather of Batman and in turn DC). Adi introduced me and Michael, and as they talked, I came to the realization that Adi was, in laymen terms, a cool ass dude. I’ve been dealing with fellow producers for almost a decade in film, and for the most part they are either at least 20 years older than me or pompous as sh*t. Not all of them, but enough for me to always have a guard up. As soon as we started walking again, I changed the way I approached this whole process. See, I read all of Adi’s interviews before. They are carbon copy (no offense to the writers). Anyone can Google how he is the youngest producer to have a number 1 movie at the box office (Dredd) , or how he had one of the greatest viral short of all time (Dirty Laundry). But to really get in the nitty gritty (probably the third time I’ve used that word ever), I had to just be me.

As we ate a quick sushi lunch and talked, I saw how Adi treated Rachel. She wasn’t some trophy girlfriend or arm candy, she was someone he cared about. He seems to always by hyper alert that the people around him are comfortable (as he asked me numerous times if I’m hungry or thirsty). It wasn’t a front, as you can tell the emotional truths of someone by looking at their face as they talk. His look was distant, this was him; there wasn’t a focus on acting this way. Hollywood is filled with two kinds of people; asshats and those who are perceived as asshats, but really aren’t. Adi isn’t an asshat, I maybe one though (kidding).

He talked to me about growing up in Hong Kong, moving about his whole life, and flipping the bird to the system. It’s all fun and games, especially when you can take your love for something (comics), employ a good friend of yours (Thomas Jane), and put together a poignant piece (Dirty Laundry) that was a probably more lauded Punisher flick than the last two that came from FOX. We had a lot to discuss, and we had such little time, but he asked me if the magazine would consider putting him on the cover, as we sped back to Javits. I said yes without pondering much on it. This is someone that NEEDS to be on a cover. He had blown my mind in such a short period of time, and I had to really get in the mind of such a peer who was the anti-asshat.

We split as we got back to Javits, and after wrapping my day, I put a feeler to the team about Adi, resulting in a conversation, which leads to this cover story. This was a lengthy explanation at best, but one needed in showcasing something important. I might be a producer first, but I do understand journalism to a tee.  It isn’t about putting out the juicy story that oozes blood onto ink, creating buzz like flies to carcass. It isn’t about scoops (especially with social media the way it is, who REALLY breaks stories anymore). It is about real f*cking people doing meaningful sh*t. It is about a changing environment in a notoriously unchanging industry. It’s about guys in their 20’s who are not any shade of white coming in and turning things on their heads. And as we met one more time before the end of the convention, I spent a half hour geeking out with Adi over comics, cementing in my head a hope for our industry; people who actually care about their craft. It’s that care that is going to drive this whole business to new depths in the coming years.

The last time I saw Adi was during his photo shoot. He came alone, no publicist or manager and had fun as we sat and got him ready for the three hour photo fest we had ahead of us. There were no frills, just laughs and pizza. As we walked out, I learned that he and Rachel had broken up, and he had a certain air to him that I had not seen since my doomed marriage. It was an understanding of the inevitable, a sadness for what had become, and yet a thirst to learn about relationships on a greater scale. We spent the next four hours really unburdening each other’s souls (not as dirty as that sounds), which lead to us discussing my last relationship (a sh*t show that ended right before NYCC), and the different paths that we all find ourselves on in the journey to the middle (thanks Cameron). It was a long discussion of distracted fathers, cultural pressures, the significance of marriage, and the long hallways of depression that breakups leave us in, surrounded by locked doors of answers, and hanging lights of misunderstanding. As we were wrapping up dinner, Adi was distracted by a group message he was on, which he apologized for. There was never a need for apology, but it lead to him explaining the nature of it, which was a running joke on one of his sets that was never ending. To see cohesiveness on any set (especially after some of the drama I have seen on many) was refreshing. There is usually so much industry gossip to discuss that sometimes it almost feels strange to have an actual human-to-human conversation.

But Adi’s opinions were far reaching. And a big chunk of our time was understanding the Sony hack and The Interview in general. “I don’t know how I feel about that movie, I really don’t, because on some level, the concept is funny. It is a funny concept. But on another level, if another country made the movie about Obama, there would be a problem. So it’s kind of this American hubris, this ethnocentric, egocentric world view that we are untouchable. The old world is dead, welcome to the new world. Yeah you might have a big army but you can annihilate someone on a personal level. Because those (cyber) attacks didn’t affect Sony as it did Amy Pascal. It was almost like they were like Sony’s fine, but we are going after the person who green lit this movie.” This was such a far out notion, as this was something that we are going to have to come to fear; cyber, personal terrorism. The last thing any one of us wants is our search histories leaked (and that’s just one thing that can be leaked).

Leaving his apartment was bittersweet as he was ready to watch Birdman (eh), and I was headed to a holiday party on the Paramount lot. He gave me some last minute advice (Inherent Vice is probably not going to be very good, which I ended up seeing anyways, but yes Adi you were right), and embraced before thanking me for a great time. I had to thank him, because oddly enough I felt I found out more about myself that day then I did about him. I came to terms with an identity crisis I’ve been struggling with since I was younger, as well as really found closure for my ex girlfriend (yeah you girl from Queens). I think I intended to quote him more, but I feel most people wouldn’t get the far out trip we took, so just focus on knowing the true side of someone from the elusive, fantastical mountain entitled Holly-Wood. To take a quote from one of Adi’s interesting characters, Diaz from The Grey, “I just had the clearest thought. I’m done. I’m done”. And so is this story.

Adi Shankar currently has the dark comedy The Voices starring Ryan Reynolds and Anna Kendrick opening on February 6th as well as the Bollywood indie Gangs of Wasseypur open now in theaters. Also make sure to check out his Power Ranges pseudo-sequel below.

 

Photography:  Cale Moss

Location:  Sudio6 LA

Wardrobe Stylist:  Raphel Young

Makeup:  Allison Lawicki

Produced by:  Muse Publishing

More from Ali Abouomar

Future Man: Watch This Show if You Want to Live

Don't judge me for the title - I had to in the...
Read More

64 Comments

  • 激光是單一波段的光能 , 在同一時間發射 , 光線能量較為集中 , 能深入皮膚打擊患處之異常色素或血管 , 溫和地刺激皮膚內的骨膠原更生, 新生的骨膠原令您的膚質光澤柔嫩 , 煥然一新 , 抗老效果顯著。有效治療色斑(雀斑 , 太陽斑 , 咖啡斑 , 太田痣 , 紋身) , 血管問題 (葡萄色斑 , 微絲血管擴張) , 膚色不均 , 皮膚鬆弛 , 毛孔粗大 治療後皮膚會出現短暫的紅腫 , 要注意防曬及遵照醫生指示護理皮膚

  • KIT HOLDEN: Kingsley Coman made his professional debut just three years ago, but he has already picked up a league winners’ medal in three different countries. Kingsley Coman has won Ligue 1, Serie A and Bundesliga – and he’s only 19! So will wonderkid be one of the brightest sparks of Pep Guardiola’s legacy at Bayern Munich?

  • Great – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task..

  • Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to understand a lot approximately this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with some p.c. to pressure the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is great blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  • Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

  • Definitely believe that that you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be on the internet the simplest factor to be mindful of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider issues that they plainly do not recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

  • What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & help other customers like its aided me. Great job.

  • I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this website. Studying this info So i am satisfied to show that I have an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I such a lot for sure will make certain to don’t put out of your mind this web site and give it a look regularly.

  • Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and in no way seem to get something done.

  • Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and internet and this is actually frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thanks for keeping this site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  • Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent info being shared freely out there.

  • Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  • It’s arduous to find knowledgeable individuals on this matter, but you sound like you realize what you’re speaking about! Thanks

  • Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Appreciate it

  • I happen to be writing to make you be aware of of the excellent experience my princess gained using your blog. She learned several details, which included what it’s like to have a marvelous helping mood to make a number of people with ease thoroughly grasp a variety of very confusing subject matter. You undoubtedly did more than readers’ expected results. Thank you for supplying those important, healthy, edifying and easy thoughts on this topic to Jane.

  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  • I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website 🙂

  • Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just
    wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you protect
    against it, any plugin or anything you can advise?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  • I intended to compose you one little note to help say thanks over again on the superb tactics you’ve provided in this case. It is quite shockingly open-handed with you to deliver freely all that numerous people could have marketed for an electronic book to help make some profit on their own, chiefly seeing that you could have done it if you decided. Those strategies additionally worked like the great way to understand that someone else have the identical fervor really like my own to know lots more with respect to this condition. I know there are lots of more fun times ahead for many who see your blog post.

  • Hey, very interesting posting. My aunt and I have recently been searching for thorough information on this subject sort of stuff for quite a while, but we couldn’t until now. Do you consider you can make several youtube videos about this, I think your web blog would be more good if you ever did. If not, oh well. I will be viewing on this web-site in the not to distant future. E-mail me and keep me updated. granite countertops cleveland

  • My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web address and thought I may
    as well check things out. I like what I see so now
    i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for a second time.

  • This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  • Thanx for the effort, keep up the good work Great work, I am going to start a small Blog Engine course work using your site I hope you enjoy blogging with the popular BlogEngine.net.Thethoughts you express are really awesome. Hope you will right some more posts.

  • Can I simply say what a relief to find someone who actually is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know easy methods to deliver a problem to light and make it important. Extra individuals need to read this and perceive this facet of the story. I cant believe youre not more fashionable because you positively have the gift.

  • Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Appreciate it!

  • I’m really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A number of my blog audience have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

  • Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my
    end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  • I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.