Nila Najand is a talent manager who is one of the producers of the film STRETCH which stars Ed Helms and opens in 2014; here is a link to her Twitter account:
Q: What made you interested in talent management?
A: I started my career in the industry at a talent agency working in the hosting, special appearances, and music departments. I was creating marketing decks and attending celebrity events. The first event was for Timbaland. Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, Ciara, Brandy, Ray J, Jimmy Iovine, Jamie Iovine, and several other celebs attended. I loved it! It really didn’t feel like ‘work’. From there, I entered agent training and started sifting through film and tv projects for the actors, actresses, and athletes the agency represented. I switched to talent management when I was given the opportunity to produce. I wanted to keep a small client list and focus on the careers of a few people rather than the thick roster I was handling at the agency. I enjoy helping them achieve their career goals.
Q: Why did you chose to become a producer?
A: The best part of being an agent was reading the role descriptions and scripts. It made me want to create. When Joe Carnahan sent me ‘STRETCH’ and asked if I wanted to learn how it’s done, I couldn’t possibly say no. If you love movies and TV shows, it really is a dream job.
Q: What is STRETCH about?
A: STRETCH is an action comedy about a down on his luck limo driver (Patrick Wilson) with a gambling debt and only one shift left to pay it off. He picks up an insane cast of characters including an eccentric billionaire (Chris Pine) who offers to pay off his debt if he fulfills all of his requests, no matter how bizarre they might be. As our hero is struggling to get through the worst night of his life, he’s also being taunted by man in a shark-skinned suit and a weird tiny mustache (Ed Helms). We have Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker, Ray Liotta, David Hasselhoff, Keith Jardine, Ahman Green, and Randy Couture keeping this film very interesting…completely insane…and absolutely hilarious!
Q: How did you get Ed Helms for the project?
A: We all love Ed Helms for the characters in ‘THE OFFICE’ and ‘THE HANGOVER’ films, but this role is very different. He’s not a sweet, goofy guy in this film. That’s why he wanted to do it. I think people will really enjoy seeing him mess with Patrick Wilson. He’s such a nice guy in person and it was a lot of fun watching him transform into this character.
Q: What is your oddest work story?
A: : Oh boy, that is a really difficult question to answer without giving away scenes from the film. I can say this much…Ed Helms is a great skateboarder! You can ask Shaun White. I also had fun with fake blood on my knuckles and “punching” Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon – ‘THE WALKING DEAD’).
Q: What makes talent marketable?
A: I find that unique characters/characteristics paired with talent make actors marketable. I’ve watched countless auditions. The ones who do things just a little bit differently are the ones that stand out. Create a character and fully commit to it. That’s the best advice I can give.
Q: What makes a movie worth producing?
A: A great script, a great director, and a cast who would love nothing more than to bring those pages to life.
Q: What do you like about Hollywood?
A: Hollywood is a very creative environment. From picking out the right script to choosing the cast to the time on set to seeing the final edit on the big screen…I love every minute of it.
Q: What would you change about it?
A: With millions of dollars on the line, people tend to take fewer chances. I’d like to see a few more bold choices.
Q: What is more important, big name talent or a great story?
A: We’ve all seen films with big name talent and a terrible storyline flop. If you have a great story (and a great director), big name talent will want to be involved. The names we have on ‘STRETCH’ are people who love the script and Joe Carnahan.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)