EP 29: Brian Grazer on working with Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, White Lotus, Apollo 13, , breaking into Hollywood as an outsider and more (w/ transcript)

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“Making a movie is a startup”

This week’s episode features the incredible Brian Grazer, award-winning producer known for A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, 8 Mile, Splash, Genius, Arrested Development, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week just to name a few. 

We cover: how Brian broke into Hollywood as an outsider, how to have the perfect conversation and pitch your ideas, how to deal with gatekeepers, Apollo 13, Thirteen Lives, A Beautiful Mind working with Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, meeting Fidel Castro, building a personal brand and more. We also had a fun sideways discussion on White Lotus and other recent movies and TV shows we liked.

At the very bottom of this post, we also have the transcript of the conversation as well)

Leave a comment, rating, or tag us on Twitter – we repost our favorite ones! 

Where to find Brian Grazer:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/briangrazer/

Where to find Us:

• Aarthi and Sriram’s Good Time Show: Youtube, Substack, Twitter

• Aarthi Ramamurthy: Twitter, Instagram

• Sriram Krishnan: Twitter, Instagram, Blog

Notable Quotes: 

  1. “I asked myself this rhetorical question, what did I learn at USC, and quickly answered nothing.”

  2. “I just think that everything is like dating. Businesses are like dating, meeting is like dating. Everything is dating. You have to invent stories. You just have to come up with stuff. I was a good dater.”

  3. “My goal is to make my curiosity conversation the best date that Isaac Asimov or Edward Teller could ever have.”

  4. “ Everything is a startup; making a movie is a startup, making a TV show, meeting a new person where there’s no overlapping agenda is a startup.”

  5. “Jay-Z is an amazing person that you want to be on your toes because he’s relaxed in manner, but he’s sharp as you could possibly be.”

  6. “Any movie that’s successful, the character almost always has power.”

  7. “The world wants to save Tom Hanks the most.”

  8. “I’m good at inventing and industrializing movie ideas.”

  9. “Hollywood is built on iconography.”

  10.  “Because of a curiosity conversation with Verónica De Negri who was tortured in Chile, I asked her, ‘How did you survive this torture?’ She said, ‘By living in an alternate reality.’ That was a flashpoint for me.” – on making The Beautiful Mind


  1. What is dyslexia

  2. A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman

  3. Neuro-linguistic Programming

  4. Warner Brothers Pictures, MGM Studios

  5. Peter Knecht, Criminal Defence Lawyer, LA

  6. Warren Beatty; Director, Producer, Actor

  7. How to get an interview with TrumpSaagar Enjeti

  8. Theme of Exodus

  9. Amadeus, period biographical film on Mozart

  10.  Made in America, documentary on music festival by Jay-Z

  11.  Jim Carey torture training with CIA to play The Grinch

  12.  Apollo 13, 1995 American space docudrama film

  13.  Thirteen Lives, 2022 film based on the Tham Luang cave rescue

  14.  Ron Howard and Brian Grazer on Invest Like the Best Podcast

  15.  Splash, 1984 American fantasy romantic comedy film

  16.  Brian Grazer on Joe Rogan’s Podcast 

  17.  Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary political leader

  18.  Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese on Marvel movie actors

  19.  A Beautiful Mind, movie on Nobel Laureate John Nash

  20.  Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

In this episode, we cover:

[00:00] Experience with dyslexia
[02:30] Brian’s introduction to Hollywood
[10:56] How to have a great conversation with anybody
[13:40] How to deal with gatekeepers
[18:04] The perfect first conversation
[22:10] Does curiosity lead to success?
[26:53] Apollo 13 and Thirteen Lives
[29:15] Working with Ron Howard
[32:55] Pitching movie ideas
[36:28] White Lotus
[39:01] Working with Tom Hanks
[42:25] Meeting Fidel Castro 
[45:25] Building a personal brand 
[48:55] Are Marvel actors real movie stars?
[51:09] On making ‘A Beautiful Mind’
[54:38] Final thoughts