There is a Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding a film about prolific producer and studio chairman Alan Ladd, Jr. – or Laddie, as he is affectionately known. Fans might know that name because without him Star Wars probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day…
In 1973, the president of 20th Century Fox (and son of famed actor Alan Ladd) Alan Ladd, Jr. was impressed with a film called American Graffiti. He contacted the young director, George Lucas, to see if he had any ideas for future projects. Lucas went on to describe a character-driven science fiction movie set in space. Ladd loved the idea and decided to take a chance on the project. However, the production of Star Wars was plagued with all manner of difficulties, and the Board of Directors at Fox wanted to shut down the whole project. Lucas' only ally was Alan Ladd, Jr., and he became a buffer between the Board and Lucas. Production on Star Wars was able to roll on to completion.
When Star Wars premiered on May 25, 1977, it was a huge success – both with critics and movie goers – and it has remained so to this very day as fans anxiously await the 2015 release of Episode VII. It’s safe to say that Star Wars fans everywhere owe Alan Ladd, Jr. an enormous debt of gratitude.
Star Wars isn’t the end of Ladd’s legacy, either. Alien and Young Frankenstein were also produced during his tenure at Fox. Ladd left in 1979 to start his own production company, The Ladd Company, and the string of successful films continued – including Academy Award winners The Right Stuff and Chariots of Fire. Ladd joined MGM/UA in 1985 and, during that time, there were more hits – namely A Fish Called Wanda, Moonstruck and Thelma & Louise. In 1993, The Ladd Company and teamed with Paramount Pictures. In 1995, Ladd produced Braveheart, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. All told, Ladd has 164 films, 150 Academy Award nominations, and 50 Academy Award wins to his name.
The proposed film, Laddie, will tell the story of this hugely successful, highly respected, and largely unsung giant in the world of filmmaking.
View the teaser trailer below: