CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE; Her future is rosy, but will RSA thrive without Godman?
By CAROLINE MARSHALL, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 06 December 1996 12:00AM
It is very sad that the 13-year partnership between Jo Godman and Ridley and Tony Scott has come to an end (Campaign, last week). To the outside world, RSA Films has seemed a blueprint for the successful production company - the Scotts bringing enough film-makerly aura to attract serious talent, and Godman building the company and running it with scrupulous honesty, professionalism and dedication.
It is very sad that the 13-year partnership between Jo Godman and Ridley
and Tony Scott has come to an end (Campaign, last week). To the outside
world, RSA Films has seemed a blueprint for the successful production
company - the Scotts bringing enough film-makerly aura to attract
serious talent, and Godman building the company and running it with
scrupulous honesty, professionalism and dedication.
Things are rarely as simple as that, of course, and it seems that Godman
feels she would like to give something else a try. The commonest
explanation I have heard so far is that Godman’s relationship with the
Scotts suffered because Jake Scott (with Luke, one of Ridley Scott’s two
directing sons at RSA) tried to extricate himself from an agency
contract in favour of a more attractive script. No agency should have to
put up with that and Godman fired Jake, only reinstating him when the
But that was just one incident. Godman and the Scotts worked
harmoniously together for years. The company has made serious money and
the atmosphere, on thewhole, has been excellent. What Godman may have
disliked was the fact that she was working for largely absent film-
makers whose ambitions seem to lie in building their features empire,
dubbed Scott Free. The Scotts are already partners in Shepperton Studios
and, in April, they joined forces with the Mill to create a new digital
special effects company. Commercials production, whether through RSA in
London or its offices in Los Angeles and New York, is merely one of
their corporate interests.
Now it is Godman’s turn to build her own empire and few doubt that she
will succeed. Word is that she has a producer partner in mind and that
she will be in business by January 1997. Agencies will be lining up to
be her first client. For many heads of TV, Godman is RSA, and few
understand the London market as thoroughly.
The big questions are how many RSA directors will follow her and how
binding are their contracts with RSA? Will Vaughan Arnell, her most
recent signing, stay or go? Some directors will stay put for the same
reason they joined - to capitalise on the Scotts’ feature film
connections - but few doubt that Godman has the pulling power to attract
star names, whether from RSA or elsewhere.
Further evidence of Godman’s reputation comes from the fact that she is
being replaced by two of the best producers in town: Adrian Harrison, a
long-established producer at RSA, and Paul Rothwell, the top producer at
Paul Weiland. They will probably do a good job, not least because they
have been mates since university, but then they have a tough act to
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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