Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek, founders of the Halcyon film company, had never produced a major motion picture when they quietly acquired the Terminator franchise two years ago, while the big studios weren’t looking.
“Through the grapevine we heard that the owners of Terminator were in an egregious split, but it wasn’t on the market yet,” Mr. Anderson told the Transom. “So we tried to figure out what it was worth and, quite frankly, what we can afford to pay for it.”
The co-CEOs drew up an offer, not disclosing who they were, which would only be on the table for a brief 24 hours. The answer came back six hours later; it was a yes. The pair later heard that bigger studios made larger offers, but it was too late. The deal was binding.
The culmination of their big coup, Terminator Salvation, opens in New York this week. The Transom caught up with the producers by phone on the morning after their splashy May 14 premiere in Los Angeles, which Mr. Kubicek described as “a little overwhelming.”
Both New Yorkers, Mr. Anderson, 41, a former ad exec, and Mr. Kubicek, 28, a former stock trader, founded Halcyon in 2006 for the simple reason than that they wanted to work in movies.
“One day I was just standing there,” recalled Mr. Kubicek of his last day at the stock exchange, “I looked at the clock and it was exactly 1:11 p.m. I thought, ‘If you’re still here in five minutes, you will never get out of here. So I just left—my feet just started walking!” (Mr. Kubicek later phoned his colleagues to have the “noble conversation.”)
“We didn’t know the rules of the game, so we just forged ahead and took chances that maybe other people wouldn’t take,” said Mr. Kubicek.
This seemed to work in favor of the newcomers, who managed to get actor Christian Bale to sign up for the role of John Connor.
“I think it appealed to him that we were doing things differently and that we came from the outside. I think he was impressed by that,” said Mr. Kubicek. “He does things a little differently himself, and he’s a bit of an outsider.”
How did the producers handle the actor’s hugely publicized outburst at director of photography Shane Hurlbut?
“It’s hard to understand something without having complete context,” said Mr. Anderson, who was on set when it happened. “Christian was doing that scene in the middle of the night after the longest day. What happened is what happened, but what everyone didn’t hear was after that was all over, there was talking and hugs and apologies all around.”
Lately, the rookie filmmakers have been making advances on the New York social scene. Last year, they formed the Edmont Literary Society along with Vogue features assistant Stephanie LaCava and author Nathaniel Rich. And they were sponsors of the New Yorkers for Children spring gala last month.
“I don’t mind getting my picture taken. It’s part of our business, and it’s good for our company’s profile for people to know that we’re giving back in places where there is visibility,” said Mr. Kubicek. “We brought [director] McG, and friends Josh [Hartnett], Common and Serena [Williams]. I think the whole room thought they were fabulous and the bulbs were going off, but for us it was actually just a nice way to bring some friends together.”