Paula Wagner Producer
Paula Wagner has worked in the top ranks of the entertainment industry as a film producer, talent agent and studio executive. She has made films in nine different countries and has been very actively involved in promoting international co-productions.
Wagner worked around the globe producing and promoting the first three M:I movies. She is considered a pioneer in finessing the models for shooting US movies in various countries around the world from the Czech Republic to China and called on Russia to consider an incentive scheme for production.
In 1993, Wagner launched Cruise /Wagner Productions (C/W) with her former CAA client Tom Cruise. For the next 13 years, she and Cruise produced a wide range of pictures that earned numerous awards, widespread critical praise, and global box office success. Under the C/W banner, Wagner’s first film released was the international hit MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, the success of which brought the company the 1997 Nova Award for Most Promising Producers in Theatrical Motion Pictures.
Wagner went on to produce such critically acclaimed films as THE OTHERS, THE LAST SAMURAI, VANILLA SKY, WITHOUT LIMITS, SHATTERED GLASS, NARC, ELIZABETHTOWN, and ASK THE DUST, not to mention such international blockbusters as Steven Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS (which Wagner executive produced). In all, films produced by C/W earned more than $3 billion in worldwide box office receipts.
Wagner was co-owner of United Artists Entertainment, LLC and also served as the company's Chief Executive Officer from 2006 to 2008. During her tenure, Wagner orchestrated relationships with some of the top talents in the business including Oscar-winning screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, Paul Haggis, Steve Zaillian and Academy-Award nominee Guillermo del Toro, among others. UA released the Robert Redford political thriller LIONS FOR LAMBS and the World War II thriller VALKYRIE, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Cruise.
Wagner began her career at Creative Artists Agency as an agent where she spent 15 years building and nurturing the career of young actors who are now some of the top talent in the business such as Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Matthew Broderick, Oliver Stone, Demi Moore, Liam Neeson, Kathryn Bigelow, Robert Town and others.
Currently, Wagner is developing films, theatre and television through her production company Chestnut Ridge Productions (CRP). Wagner’s goal is to bring the art of filmmaking and a film sensibility to all media platforms, including theatre and television.
Under the CRP banner, Wagner will bring movie talent to the Broadway stage in the fall of 2012 with the theatrical productions of The Heiress starring Jessica Chastain, David Strathairn, Dan Stevens, and Judith Ivey, and GRACE starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, Kate Arrington & Ed Asner.
For television, Wagner was an executive producer of the critically-acclaimed and award winning Lifetime original movie FIVE.
Wagner was honored by Premiere magazine with the Women in Hollywood Icon Award in 2001. The following year she was featured in Bravo's "Women on Top," a documentary which profiled exceptional women in entertainment. In 2004, she was honored by Daily Variety as a "Billion-Dollar Producer." That same year, Wagner received the UCLA/Producers Guild of America Vision Award. In 2006, Wagner received the Sherry Lansing award from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization. She was also the recipient of the Excellence in Producing Award at the Sarasota Film Festival and served as the president of the First-Time Directors Jury at the Venice Film Festival. In 2008, Wagner was honored by the Costume Designers Guild with its Swarovski President's Award and in 2011, she earned the Chicago Film Festival’s Renaissance Award.
Wagner serves on the National Board of the Producers Guild of America, Board of the National Film Preservation Foundation through the Library of Congress, Film Forum in NY and Carnegie Mellon University (lifetime member). She is a member of the American Cinematheque's Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Additionally, education being one of Wagner’s passions, she is an adjunct faculty member in the MEIM program through the Heinz School of Public Policy at CMU. Wagner also teaches a course at UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television titled “From Page to Stage to Screen to Stage,” and is an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television, where she teaches the “Practical Realities of Film Industry.”
Prior to her career as an agent and producer, she began as an actress and performed both on and off-Broadway and was a member of the Yale Repertory Company. She is also a published playwright, co-authoring the play Out of Our Father's House.