Senior Studio Executive & Author Neil Russell

Air Date: May 18, 2014

Show #170

Neil Russell is the founder and president of Site 85 Productions, Inc. which creates, neilrussellacquires and licenses intellectual properties for exploitation across all entertainment media. Site 85 also produces motion pictures, television and music and has begun publishing books through its Rothington House imprint. Over the course of his career, Neil has acquired the rights to hundreds of books, screenplays, short stories, formats, life stories, titles, trademarks and pitches.

Born into a theatre-owning family, Neil began his career in theatres then joined Paramount Pictures and later, Columbia, in theatrical distribution where he was privileged to handle some of the highest grossing and most critically-acclaimed motion pictures of the time, including THE GODFATHER I and II, CHINATOWN, SERPICO, DEATH WISH, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and THE WAY WE WERE. Recruited by MGM in New York just prior to their acquisition of United Artists, he was charged with merging then heading the combined companies’ television distribution units.

During his tenure at MGM/UA, he oversaw the sales, advertising partnerships and extended rights exploitation of the largest film library in the world—more than 4000 titles—including the 700 Warner Brothers Pre-1948 pictures: CASABLANCA, THE AFRICAN QUEEN; the 717 Pre-1948 RKO pictures: CITIZEN KANE, KING KONG, IT’S WONDERFUL LIFE; the MGM library: GONE WITH THE WIND, THE WIZARD OF OZ, BEN-HUR; the United Artists library: THE PINK PANTHER franchise, the JAMES BOND franchise, the ROCKY franchise, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, APOCALYPSE NOW and more than 100 television series. He also worked closely with MGM/UA’s bankers to maintain the company’s lines of credit

“It was just after midnight when the girl in the
blue diamond necklace fell out of the sky.”

In Hollywood, an ex-con movie producer, fresh out of San Quentin, is lucky if he can get a valet to take his car at The Ivy. Teddy Chessman got his own studio.

Why? Because Teddy controls the most important motion picture property to hit town since agents were invented. And attached to this expected critical and financial bonanza is the biggest female action star in the world, Valentine Jones.

But good plans die horrible deaths, and foolproof ones, worse. And now, the guy who loaned Teddy the money to buy the joint—Rail Black, a former Delta Force operator with a private fortune—is forced to take possession of Teddy’s dream. And the bad news is just beginning.

Exploding from ninety years in the past—when gangsters and movie tycoons roamed Hollywood and scratched each other’s wallets—Rail is sucked into a quicksand of unsettled scores, duplicity and death, where a couple of billion dollars in boxoffice seems like small change.

From Southern California to New York, Venice, Havana, Mexico and Cyprus, Rail must disentangle the past from the present and come to terms with his feelings for Barrie Fontaine, a long dead woman—and extraordinarily brave pilot—he has never met.

And somewhere, out there, is Matty Aspirins, a hitman on a mission all his own.

Welcome to Beverly Hills is Burning.

 

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Neil Russell’s Website