“Hollywood at the highest level,” Franklin Leonard says, “is the least diverse business sector in American business.”
When Leonard first created The Black List, he wanted to find the best screenplays never produced. And he did, shining a bright light on the writers of soon-to-be award-winning movies like Juno, Argo and The King’s Speech. Now he wants to flip Hollywood’s recruitment plan, bypassing the nepotism to scout talent from every corner of the country.
He sits down with Art of Power’s Aarti Shahani to discuss how his nerdy beginnings in Georgia set the precedent for his career as a revered film executive. He explains how creating the first Black List broke an unwritten Hollywood rule, what Hollywood can learn from the NBA about actually finding the best talent, and the power of imagery in dismantling racism and asserting personhood. And when he is faced with unspoken discrimination, Leonard explains how he copes with rejection.