Known among directors for his willingness to take ingenious risks and trusted by financiers for his impeccable taste, Graham King is one of modern cinema's most resoundingly successful producers. As the president and CEO of Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), an independent finance, production, and distribution company, King turned the concept of "split-rights deals" with A-list talent (via agreements forged with ICM) into a veritable art form. As the force that saw many of cinema's riskiest and most successful productions through to fruition, King also flexed his muscles to prevent many ill-advised pitches and in-development projects from ever seeing the light of day, thus guarding studios and distributors from untold losses and forging friendships in high places. Among other accomplishments, King saved Steven Soderbergh's Academy Award-winning Traffic after Harrison Ford dropped out of the drug czar role (which King eventually filled with Michael Douglas). He salvaged Michael Mann's Ali by buying the film's foreign rights and he rescued Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York by underwriting the film for 65 million dollars.Born and raised in London, King traveled to the United States on a student visa in 1982 and studied computer science and economics at UCLA. A two-week summer internship at 20th Century Fox blossomed into a six-year career in international distribution under the aegis of William Saunders. When Saunders retired, King accepted foreign sales positions with such companies as King's Road and Cori, then pooled forces with business partner Cindy Cowan to form IEG in 1995. Their initial output consisted largely of vehicles such as the Leslie Nielsen comedy Rent-A-Kid (1995), but King soon set his sights quite a bit higher, notably via several lucrative collaborations with Martin Scorsese including Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), and The Young Victoria (2008, with Scorsese as a producer and Jean-Marc Vallée directing). King also produced the box-office blockbusters The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) and Blood Diamond (2006).
In the late 2000s, King launched his own production banner, GK Films, with plans to continue the craftsmanship of prestige productions. These included the aforementioned co-production with Martin Scorsese entitled The Young Victoria (scripted by Julian Fellowes) and development deals with Johnny Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi