Office With a View: The deal broker says ”it was a total accident“ starting with the low-budget shop before going on to rep Hollywood’s biggest names
For this week’s Office With a View, Galsor told TheWrap his Corman association was “A total accident. I couldn’t get a job with any company at all, any company in any business. I got one interview only, and that was with this company called Concorde-New Horizons in Los Angeles… I didn’t know who Roger Corman was. But I showed up anyway, because he was the only one that offered me [an interview].”
Galsor didn’t spend too many months with Corman’s company, but it led him to more than 20 years with Greenberg Glusker, where he’s having a pretty good summer in 2022.
In the blockbuster category, he represented Tom Cruise in the “Top Gun: Maverick” deal (the film has passed $1.2 billion in US box office) and also repped Chris Hemsworth in “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which opened in June and has since raked in more than $600 at the worldwide box office. Other high-powered clients include the Russo Brothers (for “The Gray Man”), the Tolkien Estate (“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”) and James Cameron (“Avatar: The Way of Water”).
Galsor talked to TheWrap about how his accidental meeting with Roger Corman led him to a career working with some of today’s top names in movies and TV.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
When we first spoke, you joked that the best way into this cutthroat industry is to get a job with Roger Corman.
I get this job with a company that I don’t know, for a guy I’d never heard about [laughs]. I started doing that with zero knowledge, and maybe even zero is too high — it was a negative amount of knowledge. He would effectively give a job to anyone. I got that job for a very short amount of time, and I learned more in a few months than I probably learned in the next five years. After that, I’m like, you know, this is probably what I want to do. If you can imagine having a lawyer who doesn’t know anything about movies, that was me. But somehow I think it worked.
What was Corman like?
He’s a very nice man, very generous with his time. He is sort of used to working with people who don’t know anything about the business. You know, even though he made a lot of B-movies, he also made very many great films. [Note: Corman, 96, is still wielding influence in the movie biz, recently commenting publicly that the Marvel Universe could improve itself by focusing first on story, less on special effects].
But you didn’t stay long.
I really enjoyed it, but it was making a lot of cheap movies, [I knew] that it wasn’t going to be my long term thing. [Greenberg Glusker] was also a very generous place in terms of giving responsibility to young lawyers — though not quite as carelessly as Roger! There were a lot of big clients. As a first-year lawyer, or second-year lawyer, people would say, well, here’s a deal for some big whatever, you go figure it out — and that really agreed with me. I got many clients through that, and many clients through other means, you know, but Tom [Cruise] was one of them. So I started working with some of these clients many, many years ago.
You were just a kid when “Top Gun” came out in 1986.
When the first “Top Gun” came out, I was 14 and didn’t speak any English and never heard of the movie. I was in a very different universe when that happened. Tom always knew that the sequel would be potentially very successful. Not everybody believed that could be done and that there was an appetite for it. But Tom, to his credit, he always knew. Tom travels the world when he promotes his films. And he that people asked him to sign DVDs and this and that for all kinds of things, but mainly knew “Top Gun.”
Does it take a different formula to make a blockbuster in 2022?
The market is changing a little bit. There have been so many more films — any one of them maybe some years ago would be just blowing you away with the special effects, or set pieces or whatever it may be. The expectations of the audience are so high now. It’s sort of like if you go to an amazing restaurant, every day of the week, at some point you may not feel that it’s so amazing anymore.
Since a newcomer can’t get a job with Roger Corman anymore, what’s your advice to an attorney who wants to break into Hollywood?
Everybody has such different paths to these things. There are very few firms that hire young lawyers directly to do entertainment. I think most lawyers who end up doing this kind of work, they probably end up going to a firm that is more of a corporate firm. That corporate background is very helpful in any sort of transactional legal work, and corporate training in some of these larger firms is excellent. My path was a little bit more direct, but it was completely accidental. I ended up with this firm that allowed me to do this from the beginning.
Any other tips?
I learned very early on that being overly aggressive in terms of the tone your relationships with studios or whoever you’re dealing with is generally a bad idea. Hollywood is all about relationships, certainly on the talent side of things and creative side of things. But it’s deeper than that. It’s on the business side of things. It’s in the legal side of things. Even if you have tension, sometimes disagreements and even fights, it goes always better for everyone when you have relationships with respect, and you’re playing a fair game.
Certainly the role of the Hollywood lawyer is top of mind right now with the recent passing of your celebrated Greenberg Glusker colleague Bert Fields, who also has represented Cruise. Did you get a chance to know him?
Yes, I worked with Bert for years. Bert was a fearless advocate, a true gentleman and a generous teacher. He taught me how to be a lawyer. I loved him very much, and I’ll miss him terribly. I hear Bert is God’s lawyer now. Time for us to stop pissing off God.