But he's hardly your average workaday studio stooge. Some people (ask Bourne producer Frank Marshall) describe him as an out-of-control indulgent indie run amok in Hollywood, squandering budgets as he goes, forcing others to clean up the mess. (In my Variety profile, he told me: "My films have been successful and therefore the process has accommodated me. When the studio said 'no,' I did it anyhow. Now they don't say no to me.")
That's why producers Jerry and Janet Zucker, who struggled to raise financing from multiple sources for this labor of love (River Road Entertainment, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ ) took Liman on, despite his reputation (even he admits that he can be "belligerent"), and they insist that he was well worth it. (They would have liked Sean Penn to promote Fair Game, though; Liman alienated the actor enough so that he has eschewed doing press for the movie. THR gets the Naomi Watts side of the story.) The movie is struggling at the box office; Summit broadened the film to 386 theaters last weekend for a total gross to date of $3.7 million.
In my flip cam interview below, Liman talks about why Jumper is like Fair Game, Hollywood vs. New York, and declares that while he has always featured strong women in his films (from Franka Potente to Angelina Jolie), "Valerie Plame is the most challenging character I have ever brought to the screen."
Fair Game trailer: