Interview by Lauren Madow
Mike Medavoy is Chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures, a member of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy Advisory Board, and co-author with Nathan Gardels of American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).
Born to Russian-Jewish emigrants in Shanghai, Medavoy’s family moved to Chile in 1947, and later to the U.S. His career began at Universal Studios in the 1960s. Since then, in various positions at several Hollywood studios, he has overseen the release of many major American films, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Rocky (1976), Annie Hall (1977), Platoon (1986), Philadelphia (1993), The Thin Red Line (1998), and others.
Public Diplomacy Magazine Managing Editor Lauren Madow spoke with Medavoy about Hollywood’s complex position as a potential diplomatic actor, as well as Hollywood’s shifting role on the world stage since the publication of American Idol After Iraq, in which he wrote: “If culture is on the front line of world affairs in the times to come, then Hollywood, as much as Silicon Valley, the Pentagon, or the U.S. State Department, has a starring role.”1