Paula Wagner is an unfamiliar name for many film-goers, but if you watch the first three Mission:Impossible films, you’ll notice they’re made by Cruise/Wagner Productions. Wagner formed the production company with Tom Cruise in 1993. The joint venture marked Wagner’s transition from casting agent at CAA to producer. And Cruise/Wagner Productions gave Cruise more control over projects he acted in, and more of the profits.
Under an exclusive deal with Paramount Pictures, Cruise/Wagner Productions produced every one of Cruise’s films from Mission: Impossible (1996) to Valkyrie (2008). Other features made by the production company included The Others, Without Limits, Narc, Shattered Glass, Elizabethtown, and Death Race. While Cruise/Wagner closed it’s doors in 2008, after Paramount boss, Sumner Redstone, pulled the plug on his relationship with the production company, both Cruise and Wagner were established as powerful producers, with the lucrative partnership grossing more than $2.9 billion at the box office.
Since then, Wagner has produced two other Cruise projects–Jack Reacher and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back–and moved into independent projects, including Chadwick Bosman’s Marshall (2017), a well-received true story about the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall.
Wagner, as a result, knows how to co-ordinate the full gamut of film projects from big budget to smaller character-focused productions. In the following video by CookeOpticsTV below, she explains what the role of the film producer is.
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