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Pre-flight questions for super-producer Jerry Weintraub

May 18, 2010 |  1:34 pm


After seeing the title "When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead," we were naturally inclined to want to speak to author and producer Jerry Weintraub on the phone -- which happened Tuesday before his flight from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to host an evening book bash at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills.

The tome, co-written with Rich Cohen, covers Weintraub's expansive career -- which includes booking concerts for Elvis Presley, managing singer John Denver and leading the "Oceans Eleven" franchise.

His promotion schedule for this book rivals that of an A-lister hyping one of Weintraub's films. Is he enjoying how the other half lives?

"It's very gratifying. It's something new for me, and it's a big hit. If it weren't big hit ...

... I'd probably be saying something else to you, like, 'Who ... needs this?' " he said.

"It's not unlike movies, and what's happening as we speak is the word of mouth -- that's the most important thing with anything you do with the entertainment world."

Speaking of movies -- one could argue that Weintraub's story begs for a big-screen adaptation.

"To tell my life story on film would be personally difficult ... I don't know who you'd get to play me. I always used to say Sidney Poitier. Maybe if 'Karate Kid' is a big smash, which it's going to be, I'll wait for Jaden [Smith]."  

While we wait for young Jaden to mature, Weintraub says a documentary about the producer was recently completed by Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter, with producer Steven Soderbergh and director Doug McGrath. The film will feature interviews with Weintraub's family and a laundry list of the actors he's worked with -- including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts.

"There's nothing really that I wanted to do that I haven't done," Weintraub said of his road ahead. 

"That's the one good thing about being successful and rich, you can do what you want."

We'll certainly keep that in mind. Tuesday night's celebration of the book at Barneys is expected to draw Bruce Willis, Paul Haggis, James Caan, Chelsea Handler and the Mulleavy girls of Rodarte. 

-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Jerry Weintraub kicks it at his Palm Desert home on March 15, 2010. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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