Molly Smith: Producer Extraordinaire
by SCOTT HUVER
“I've always been the bossy one in the family, which translates into ‘control freak,’” laughs film producer Molly Smith. Insisting her voice be heard among nine siblings growing up in Memphis (Dad is FedEx chairman, president and CEO Frederick Smith) certainly paid off for Smith and her most recent film, The Blind Side, which defied early industry pooh-poohing as “too Lifetime” to vie for Best Picture and earn a Best Actress Oscar for its star, Sandra Bullock. Smith says it was while she was enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts that “someone nudged me into watching producers.”
Smith began shadowing the principals at LA-based Alcon Entertainment, tackling everything from fetching coffee to attending development meetings to overseeing physical productions. After a stint as a freelancer, she picked up the book P.S. I Love You. Her Alcon mentors snagged the rights and she quickly had her first “go” picture. “It wasn’t until I was actually [producing] that I realized this is what I want to do,” says Smith.
Next up is the highly anticipated film adaptation of Emily Giffin’s chick-lit hit Something Borrowed with producing partner Hilary Swank—the pair cofounded 2S Films and is working on a joint slate of projects as well as individual efforts. “We’re alike in that we’re both workaholics,” she says. Of the beloved book, Smith muses, “It’s a moral dilemma: What do you do if you find yourself in love with your best friend’s fiancé? But it’s a love story between the two girls as well, because they’ve been friends forever.”
Smith craves more producing projects like The Blind Side (coincidentally, she knew the Tuohy family, whom the film is based on, growing up). “If you’re able to move an audience and find laughter through tears, that’s the ultimate for me.
Photograph by joe schmelzer