Jon Landau, an American film producer, took time out to discuss his career in movies with ArcLight Cinema. Landau started as a personal assistant on the set of a Dick van Dyke film to working with one of the biggest names in all of film, James Cameron, as the producer of both Titanic and Avatar.
Both of Landau’s parents were producers, therefore entering the movie industry was a natural direction to venture in. His first job was as a personal assistant on the set of Max and Sam, a small production starring Dick van Dyke and Sid Ceaser; a position he secured from knowing the producer of said film.
Because of his tinkering with computer budgeting (a process that was unheard of at the time), he was put on board as head of post-production of Beat Street, although Landau had no experience. The previous producer of the film stepped down and he was there to aid the new one on the details.
Landau seemed to be very skilled in learning as he went, for Disney also hired him as the head of post-productions on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, only this time around it was the visual effects department. This experience would prove to be vital for Dick Tracy, a cult film known for its colorful presentation and eventually for a secret project by the name of Planet Ice, or as it is known today, Titanic. His continued partnership with James Cameron would progress into the highest grossing movie of all time–Avatar.
“It takes true artists to do this work … Every frame had to be looked at as a piece of art and it takes a creative vision to see how we’re going to add depth to that frame.”
Landau believes visual presentation is crucial for making an amazing film. What is the most rewarding part of his job? The reactions of the audience. He takes great pleasure in people enjoying his work, and fabulous work it is.
Source: ArcLight Cinema