My Inspiration – Jon Sadler (Revolver)

Thursday, August 26 2010
My Inspiration – Jon Sadler (Revolver)

“There are three sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth…”

The Kid Stays In The Picture

I was a kid in the seventies, a teen in the eighties and a twenty-something in the nineties, so by the time I joined the entertainment business in the very late eighties I had nearly two decades of movies to draw inspiration from. My parents took me to see Jesus Christ Superstar in 1974, and that was the first time I had ever sat still, apparently. Then came an onslaught of goodies from 1977 onwards, in the shape of The Spy Who Loved Me and Star Wars, quickly followed the year after by Grease. By 1978 everyone my age wanted to play with Star Wars toys whilst being John Travolta. I could only stare in awe at the poster for Saturday Night Fever outside my local cinema (the Rex in Berkhamsted – now lovingly restored into one of the finest cinemas in the world), as, alas, I was too young to see it – but it did go on to become one of my favourite movies ever when I did finally get to see it.

Fast forward to 1995 and I am established as a buyer, working at MVC. I had been through my French movie stage, and had discovered their glamourous stars, such as Alain Delon and Isabelle Adjani and was getting into reading about films more and more. A review of a new book caught my eye at the time and I rushed out to buy a copy the next day. The book was The Kid Stays In The Picture – a Hollywood Life, an autobiography by the Hollywood producer Robert Evans. It originally appealed as it seemed to encompass all the history and glamour of the film business, combined with some good old fashioned gossip.,.and boy did it deliver! From the opening pages we are drawn into the golden age of Hollywood and Evans is dating a young starlet called Grace Kelly…

Originally ‘discovered’ by Norma Shearer by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the debonair Evans soon became an actor himself, being cast in the Sun Also Rises, before leaving acting altogether and joining the family business, introducing ‘pants’ for women across the US. But producing was his dream, and his plan was a cunning one. He had a friend who was a book reviewer at the New York Times who would tip him off about which books were destined for big things and the enrepenurial Evans would then buy up the film options on the cheap. And then one day he struck gold when Fox wanted to make a film of the bestselling book, The Detective and his demand was simple. Make me the producer, and it’s yours!

Evans went on to become head of production at Paramount and oversaw the production of the first two Godfather films, greenlit Love Story, and then married its star, Ali McGraw (before she eloped with Steve McQueen on the set of The Getaway). He bought a legendary Hollywood mansion, equipped it with a plush screening room and went on to lead the life that any self-respecting movie mogul should, full of scandal, drug addictions, murder trials and all round mud slinging.

Fast forward another 10 years and I’m working at Momentum Pictures and I find out that we are going to be distributing the documentary film version of the book (delight!). But best of all The Kid himself is coming to town to promote the film. Well they say you should never meet your idols, and at first that adage was seemingly true, as he entered the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill for the bijou premiere. I tried to chat to him, but as young women were also in the vicinity, I could not get his attention, for want of trying. Later, after a memorable Q&A session at the NFT, I did manage to get my book signed, but still no QT with The Kid…

However, my disappointment was short lived when Momentum md, David Kosse, invited me to a personal brainstorming session with The Kid at his suite at Claridges the next week. Now this was the real deal. And as I sat on the edge of his bed, watching trailers and promos he stood next to me and placed his hand, fatherly, on my shoulder, whilst his butler minced in and out of the room with drinks. I thought to myself, it really doesn’t get any better than this.

The Kid has stayed in the picture ever since, and I am forever hooked on the film business thanks to Bob Evans and only hope that I’ll stay in the picture for as long as he has.

•HMV’s My Inspiration is about the artists, actors and directors we love, sharing with us the lyrics and songs, poetry and dialogue that have inspired them. The journey began in 2006, when David Bowie became the first artist to take part, selecting Syd Barrett’s Gigolo Aunt as his inspiration. Since that time, many of our greatest icons and best new artists from the world of entertainment have featured.

We at the Raygun are asking the UK home entertainment trade for the films, people, or even songs, that inspired them to become part of our business.