THR: Millennium seems to be making a lot more films with female leads: Red Sonja, Till Death, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Is this a strategic shift for you?
JG: I don’t think it’s necessarily a shift, at least from our perspective. Maybe it’s more that the rest of the world is now thinking about other stories to tell. With The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Salma’s character was just so much fun, it made sense to build the second film around her.
We also like working with the same people, so we did Till Death with Megan and she’s in the new Expendables. It’s really just about working with talented people. But I will say something: We’d been trying to develop The Expendabelles, a female version of The Expendables, but my problem with that project was always trying to find a way to justify why we’d have a woman team. Instead of trying to explain that, why not just have women on the regular team and [they’re] badass? Instead of having to explain why a women character got there and all that, you just do what you’d do with a man: show them kicking ass.
THR: What role does Avi play as chairman?
JG: He’s still involved. He’s still got projects, like The Expendables, that he created, that still heavily have his imprint. He loves the business. We talk every day, and talk through everything. Some of the projects are more mine, some more his. He still brings things to the table. It’s a good relationship.
THR: When it comes to the really big films, — The Expendables, Red Sonja — how much has the market changed given that you no longer have the Chinese and Russian presale market?
JG: It’s a change, but the business is cyclical. I remember when Italy and Spain were huge markets, and then Italy and Spain died. Back in 2010, there was no theatrical market in China. We don’t hang our hat on any specific territory. We handle all the sales and distribution ourselves. We have our finger on the pulse, we’re constantly monitoring where these things are.
The same goes on the production side. At the moment we’ve got a situation where interest rates are rising, because of the war in Ukraine. You’ve got rising construction costs, increased energy and gasoline costs. Higher costs for paint, materials. But you’ve got to roll with the punches and figure out how to make the movie in the best way possible way. At the end of the day, I just love making movies and I’m going to continue doing so.
THR: Do these market changes mean you’ll be making different types of movies? Or even series, which is a growing market but not one Millennium has been involved in up till now.
JG: Our focus is on making the bigger films but also segueing into television with some of our IP as well. We control the brands for Hitman’s Bodyguard, Rambo, Hellboy, Expendables, et cetera. And we’re exploring how to build those brand and continue to deliver content for their core audiences and fans across all media, whether that’s location-based entertainment, or gaming, or whatever.
THR: So is there going to be an Expendables theme park in Sofia?
JG: We’re exploring all avenues and we have some plans that we’re working on. I can disclose more. But there’s a lot of fun to be had, right and delivering content in all kinds of ways to fans globally.