Best Quotes from Craig Zadan

It was very, very difficult to be a student in the drama department and also review my professors’ school shows. I got a lot of pressure from them to quit the paper and concentrate on studying dramatic literature.

Craig Zadan

It’s expensive to produce musicals on television.

Craig Zadan

We called the head of CBS and said, ‘We know how network television feels about musicals. Would you even consider doing ‘Gypsy?” He said, ‘If I did say yes, you’d have to have a big movie star who does not do TV.’ I told him that, in our fantasy world, we’d like Bette Midler. He said, ‘Get Bette Midler, and you have an on-the-air commitment.’

Craig Zadan

A lot of people feel that ‘Music Man’ is a good movie musical.

Craig Zadan

I was captivated by Stephanie Mills.

Craig Zadan

In the past, once a movie musical was made, it was believed that you were left with that version, good or bad, for posterity.

Craig Zadan

We zero in on family as a theme because it makes the movies emotionally available to a universal audience.

Craig Zadan

We’d never do ‘The Sound of Music’ because the movie was perfect.

Craig Zadan

It rests in the hands of ‘Dreamgirls’ and ‘Hairspray.’ If they’re successful, we’ll be back on track – people will continue to greenlight musicals. If they don’t work, then you’re going to see everyone go back to the way it was before ‘Chicago.’

Craig Zadan

Some filmmakers set out to re-create the theater experience they got on Broadway. They kept everything the same. They shot the original casts. We reinvent the whole thing, look at it solely as a movie. We pretend that nobody saw ‘Chicago’ or ‘Hairspray.’

Craig Zadan

I don’t understand how other producers who have no experience making a musical jump in and produce one.

Craig Zadan

People think, ‘Oh, you’re doing ‘The Wiz’ because ‘Empire’ is such a big hit.’ The truth is, staging this musical has been a dream of ours since the ’90s, but the rights were tied up. It’s just coincidental that, this year, when we were choosing a new musical, the rights were cleared.

Craig Zadan

Carrie Underwood clearly drove ‘The Sound of Music.’ For ‘Peter Pan,’ we had terrific actors but not stars, and we did not do nearly as well.

Craig Zadan

To battle the odds – loss of interest, no funding, discouragement – requires someone who doesn’t give up.

Craig Zadan

When you work on a passion project, there’s always the chance that you’ll get your heart broken.

Craig Zadan

There were no TV musicals until we did Bette Midler ‘Gypsy,’ and the success of that opened the door for us to do the rest.

Craig Zadan

What usually happens on the Oscar telecast is that as soon as best picture is announced, everyone is up out of their seats and running off to their parties.

Craig Zadan

Neil and I had the greatest experience of our lives doing ‘Chicago’ with Latifah. Then we had the second best experience of our lives doing ‘Hairspray.’

Craig Zadan

We couldn’t even contemplate doing ‘Hairspray’ without a live audience.

Craig Zadan

We’ve spoken to a lot of friends who are stars who could be great, and they say to us, ‘Look, if you were doing a movie musical, and we could pre-record and lip-synch, sure. But live? So if we hit a bad note it’s there for posterity? We’re not going to go out there without a safety net.’ People are scared to death of that.

Craig Zadan

We wanted to take on social and political and LGBTQ stories which no one at the upper level of the entertainment industry ever really wants to do. So you have to fight, and you have to persuade, and you have to manipulate the studios and the networks. And you have to go back – over and over again – until they say yes.

Craig Zadan

The reality of producing the Oscars is that it’s a blood sport. With social media, everyone has a chance to voice their opinions. You have to know that entering into this special world requires a very thick skin.

Craig Zadan

I would say that, first of all, if you have the honor of being chosen to produce the Oscars, you usually get only one crack at it. We were the first people in sixteen years to do it three times in a row, and it was one of the most profound experiences you could ever imagine.

Craig Zadan

I think we sublimated our Broadway desires by doing theater in Hollywood – not on stage but by doing the movies of ‘Chicago’ and ‘Hairspray’ and also musicals on TV. We did Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Annie.’ Even ‘Smash’ was like doing theater.

Craig Zadan

When we went to Judy Davis and said, ‘We want you to play Judy Garland in the mini-series ‘Life With Judy Garland,’ she was shocked, but we just had an instinct about her.

Craig Zadan

We’d go to studios with ideas to do movie musicals and they’d literally kick us out. They said, ‘Audiences aren’t interested in movie musicals. You’re wasting our time.’

Craig Zadan

We have a particular philosophy in the casting room that we don’t really tell the actors – the actors tell us.

Craig Zadan

We have a great musical sequence in episode five of ‘Smash’ called ‘Let’s Be Bad,’ and it probably is the closest to ‘Chicago’ that I think any of us have ever experienced.

Craig Zadan

Chicago’ kind of set the bar in terms of how we approach musicals, and tone is one of the key elements.

Craig Zadan

I don’t think we’re going to break the law in terms of what you can or can’t do on TV. We’re looking to do something edgy, different, and special.

Craig Zadan

When we did ‘Chicago’ and we announced Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, and Queen Latifah, everybody went crazy and said, ‘What are they doing? What are they thinking?’ And, now, you look at the movie, and you see that we chose the people that we wanted for that movie, and we were so proud of all of them.

Craig Zadan

Neil and I are most thrilled that we were able to bring musical theatre to the enormous audience that ‘The Sound of Music’ reached.

Craig Zadan

I think maybe the most important thing that we have to say is that people don’t often talk about network executives being brave. You don’t talk about them as having integrity and a higher purpose, because it’s a job… except for Bob Greenblatt. He is a theatre person. He loves and understands it.

Craig Zadan

We’re finding that the casting of ‘A Few Good Men’ is different from the musicals because the kind of actors that you need to do it are movie actors, basically.

Craig Zadan

Basically, we had the idea of doing this production of ‘Steel Magnolias,’ and we spoke to Queen Latifah about it, and she got excited.

Craig Zadan

Neil and I share a desire for great quality in our work. If we are offered projects, look at projects, or consider projects that don’t have that quality, then we don’t do them.

Craig Zadan

Live TV is the future. It’s the only way you can beat the DVRing of America. Everything is DVRed, and no one watches stuff when it’s on. Awards shows and sports are watched when they’re broadcast.

Craig Zadan

The people with mean things to say, say them. At the end of the day, the mean things and the good things only drive viewership. So what do you want? You want the ratings.

Craig Zadan

If anything’s going to go wrong, it’d go wrong during ‘Peter Pan,’ not ‘The Sound of Music.’

Craig Zadan

The future for us is not to go bigger but to go different.

Craig Zadan

The truth of the matter is – when we look at things – every movie we do – no matter what the subject matter is – we go to the universal theme of family. We always go to that because if the movie is about family, then any audience can relate to it.

Craig Zadan

It is very, very important that people understand that you can tell different kinds of stories, and they do, related to gay and lesbian issues – especially when you know the people behind them.

Craig Zadan

He’s perfect for anything. I would hire Hugh Jackman to come to my house and have dinner.

Craig Zadan