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Hawk Koch

in Conversation with Sam Wasson

Recorded July 23rd, 2020

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Hawk Koch in Conversation with Sam Wasson, July 23, 2020

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Hawk Koch is a well-known man in Hollywood, but his face may not be familiar. The work Koch is most known for is as producer of more than 60 major films, some iconic and part of the American lexicon. Among them are Chinatown, Heaven Can Wait, Wayne’s World, Primal Fear, Marathon Man, The Way We Were, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Rosemary’s Baby. His book, Magic Time: My Life in Hollywood, recalls his well-told stories of his time in the industry, and the path he took to find a name for himself – one that separated him from his famous father for whom he was named. Beyond producing, Koch got involved at the highest levels of the film industry; he the former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, past President of the Producers Guild of America, and is currently serving on the boards of The Motion Picture and Television Fund, AMC Theatres, The Producers Guild of America, Cast and Crew, and the National Film Preservation Foundation. While president of the Academy he called for diversity, digital voting, and sought to get more membership engagement with the first general membership. When the Academy Museum idea blossomed, Koch was out there fundraising to make it happen.

 

Sam Wasson’s most recent book, “The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood” takes a deep dive into the 1974 movie “Chinatown,” using uncovered interview material, court records, and details about the development of the script. For the book, he interviewed fellow Author’s Festival speaker Hawk Koch, who was the assistant director of “Chinatown.” Wasson studied film at Wesleyan University and USC School of Cinematic Arts, and has focused his books on the subjects of film. His other books include a 2011 book of conversations with Paul Mazursky who directed and co-wrote the movie “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” and directed the movie “Down and Out in Beverly Hills.” He also wrote a 2013 biography of Bob Fosse, the director-choreographer. Wasson’s other work can be found at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.

Get ready to join Hawk in conversation, Thursday, July 23.

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    If you were starting out as a young man today, would you go into film, or into another medium?

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    How has the way the movie industry changed in recent years impacted the way you think about making movies today?

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    So many of your movies are now part of the cannon of great American films. What do you think is the common “American” thing about the films you’ve made?

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    You’ve had such a remarkable influence across such a long time period. Not the top films of all time, but what are the top films of your time?

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    What is the last great movie you’ve watched? What is the last great book you’ve read?

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    How did you decide what to include/ not include in the book? Is there anything you wished you had included?

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    What inspired you to write a memoir?

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    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

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    What was a favorite Oscar winner/memory?

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    Rosemary’s Baby.. such an innocent title for that film. What story was the film based on?

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    Film as been in your life as long as you can remember. Did you consider pursuing any other occupation?

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    How do you like novel writing compared to film?

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    How did you come up with the title of the book, Magic Time?

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    What in your opinion is the future of film production during the pandemic?

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    Rooftops was one of your movies with a top director, Robert Wise, and veteran producers. The day and night filming with stunts on top of NYC roofs was a difficult location shoot. Why do you think the movie was not well received?