Over the course of the '80s and '90s, and into the first decade of the millennium, omnipotent Hollywood producer Gary Lucchesi quickly built a name and established a track record for himself as one of Tinseltown's most prolific and eminently successful green-lighters. Lucchesi began where so many Hollywood execs do, as an agent at William Morris in Los Angeles, where he repped multimillion-dollar A-listers in the mid-'80s, such as Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner, Michelle Pfeiffer, and John Malkovich. Lucchesi later accepted a position at TriStar, several years after its 1982 establishment, where he worked as VP and Senior VP of Production, and quickly moved to the hallowed halls of Paramount, where he became President of Production -- a title he inherited from Robert Evans and Barry Diller. While there, he supervised the output of blockbusters that totaled two billion dollars in revenue, including Fatal Attraction (1987), The Untouchables (1987), Coming to America (1988), The Naked Gun (1988), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Ghost (1990).
Lucchesi's success at Paramount helped him found Gary Lucchesi Productions, Inc. in the early '90s, where his output straddled the line between megaplexes and pay cable; his big-screen ventures under this banner included Jennifer Eight (1992), Virtuosity (1995), and Primal Fear (1996, for which supporting actor Edward Norton received an Academy Award nomination). Lucchesi also oversaw the production of the seriocomic Breast Men (1997) and Vendetta (1999) for HBO and Wild Iris (2001) for Showtime.
Lucchesi subsequently became prexy of Lakeshore Entertainment, where he has executive produced such multimillion-dollar blockbusters as Underworld (2003), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), and Underworld: Evolution (2006). Most noteworthy during this period was Lucchesi's role in executive producing the Clint Eastwood project Million Dollar Baby for Warners and Malpaso -- a motion picture that not only became the sleeper hit of the year (and spun box-office gold) but netted the 2004 Best Picture Oscar. Following Emily Rose, Lucchesi oversaw Crank, a high-testosterone action thriller in the vein of Rudolph Maté's D.O.A. The picture stars Jason Statham as a hitman who is lethally poisoned and carries out a violent rampage through the urban jungle of Los Angeles before his time runs out.
In 2006, Lucchesi signed on to produce two films that would be directed by Robert Benton, with whom Lucchesi previously worked, on The Human Stain : The Feast of Love, an adaptation of a 2000 Charles Baxter novel about an Oregon romance, and Appointment in Samarra, an adaptation of John O'Hara's novel, with a script by Benton, about a couple in Gibbsville, PA, that slips from most-envied to town embarrassment when the husband spirals into self-destruction. He also produced the Zach Braff dramedy The Last Kiss, a film about the search for meaning in life, costarring Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, and Casey Affleck. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi