Cassian Elwes

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Cassian Elwes
Born(1959-08-07) 7 August 1959 (age 55)
London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationFilm producer, talent agent
Spouse(s)Priscilla A. Woolworth (1988-2000; divorced; 2 children)
Holly Wiersma (2006-2013); divorced)
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Cassian Elwes
Born(1959-08-07) 7 August 1959 (age 55)
London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationFilm producer, talent agent
Spouse(s)Priscilla A. Woolworth (1988-2000; divorced; 2 children)
Holly Wiersma (2006-2013); divorced)

Cassian Elwes (born 7 August 1959) is an independent film producer and agent, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the independent film industry.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Cassian Elwes is a son of Dominic Elwes, a portrait painter, and Tessa Kennedy, an interior designer. He is the brother of actor Cary Elwes and artist Damian Elwes. He is the stepson of Elliott Kastner, an American film producer.


Elwes began his producing career with 1983's "Oxford Blues" starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy and quickly went on to make another 29 films, including "Men at Work", with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, and "The Chase" with Sheen.

In 1995, Elwes joined William Morris. His first effort was the long stalled project "The English Patient" which won best picture that year. He quickly followed up with such indie hits as "Slingblade" and "The Apostle," both of which were nominated for multiple Oscars. "Monster's Ball" was their follow up, which won the Oscar for Halle Berry.

The Hollywood Reporter has said that Elwes was "involved in a virtual who's who of every great independent film of the last ten years"[citation needed] with films such as "Thank You For Smoking", "Half Nelson", and "Frozen River" '(the last two of which garnered Oscar nominations for Ryan Gosling and Melissa Leo respectively).

"What people lose sight of," Elwes said to Screen International, "is that these films cost a tenth of the films that they competed against at the Academy Awards. The privilege was the recognition."[citation needed]

Elwes is an expert in the field of arranging financing and distribution for independent films having done so for 283 films during his tenure at William Morris Independent.

Since leaving William Morris Independent,[when?] Elwes has been involved in arranging financing and distribution for 23 films including "Lawless," directed by John Hillcoat ("The Road"), starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy, and the thriller "The Paperboy," directed by Lee Daniels ("Precious"), starring Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron. Elwes produced the period drama The Butler, which was directed by Lee Daniels and featured an ensemble cast, including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, and Robin Williams, among others.

Additionally, he produced "Dallas Buyers Club" starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, "Saints" starring Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster, and "Hateship, Loveship" starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld and Nick Nolte.

On 29 October 2013 Elwes launched the Cassian Elwes Independent Screenwriter Fellowship, in conjunction with The Black List, to award one writer an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and mentorship from Elwes. Elwes and The Black List plan to award the fellowship annually.[2][3][4][5][6]

William Morris years[edit]

From 1994 to 2009, he co-headed William Morris Independent as an agent at The William Morris Agency, representing independent films and independent film producers; a position he held until the merger of that agency with Endeavor.[when?][7][8]



YearTitleRoleDirectorWithRotten Tomatoes
1984Oxford BluesProducerRobert BorisRob Lowe
1986NomadsProducerJohn McTiernanPierce Brosnan13% [9]
HeatProducerDick Richards
Jerry Jameson
Burt Reynolds
1987White of the EyeProducerDonald Cammell33% [10]
Zombie HighExecutive ProducerRon LinkVirginia Madsen, Paul Feig, Sherilyn Fenn
1988Jack's BackProducerRowdy HerringtonJames Spader
1989Never on TuesdayExecutive ProducerAdam RifkinPeter Berg, Nicolas Cage, Charlie Sheen
Warm Summer RainExecutive ProducerJoe Gayton
Cold FeetProducerRobert DornhelmKeith Carradine, Sally Kirkland, Tom Waits, Rip Torn
Psycho CopProducerWallace Potts
1990Cool BlueCo-ProducerMark Mullin
Richard Shepard
Woody Harrelson, Hank Azaria, Sean Penn
Men at WorkProducerEmilio EstevezCharlie Sheen, Keith David30% [11]
19919 1/2 Ninjas!Executive ProducerAaron Barsky
The Dark BackwardProducerAdam RifkinBill Paxton, James Caan, Rob Lowe45% [12]
Liquid DreamsExecutive ProducerMark S. Manos
MomExecutive ProducerPatrick Rand
1992Love Is Like ThatExecutive ProducerJill GoldmanSeymour Cassel
Leather JacketsProducerLee DrysdaleBridget Fonda
Mad at the MoonProducerMartin DonovanFionnula Flanagan
1993Psycho Cop 2Executive ProducerAdam Rifkin
1994The ChaseProducerAdam RifkinCharlie Sheen29% [13]
The Cool SurfaceExecutive ProducerErik AnjouRobert Patrick, Teri Hatcher
A Brilliant DisguiseExecutive ProducerNick Vallelonga
1995Deep DownProducerJohn Travers
Frank & JesseProducerRobert BorisRob Lowe, Bill Paxton
The Girl with the Hungry EyesExecutive ProducerJon Jacobs
2005What Is It?Executive ProducerCrispin Glover56% [14]
2009The Other WomanExecutive ProducerDon RoosNatalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow39% [15]
2010Blue ValentineCo-Executive ProducerDerek CianfranceRyan Gosling, Michelle Williams87% [16]
Henry's CrimeExecutive ProducerMalcolm VenvilleKeanu Reeves, James Caan, Vera Farmiga40% [17]
The Big BangExecutive ProducerTony KrantzAntonio Banderas, Snoop Dogg13% [18]
2011Margin CallExecutive ProducerJ.C. ChandorKevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Mary McDonnell88% [19]
The Son of No OneExecutive ProducerDito MontielChanning Tatum, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche, Al Pacino16% [20]
Cats Dancing on JupiterExecutive ProducerJordan Alan
Sarah Palin: You Betcha!ProducerNick Broomfield
Joan Churchill
30% [21]
Catch .44Executive ProducerAaron HarveyMalin Åkerman, Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis
2012The WordsExecutive ProducerBrian Klugman
Lee Sternthal
Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons, Ben Barnes, Dennis Quaid, J. K. Simmons22% [22]
LawlessExecutive ProducerJohn HillcoatShia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman67% [23]
The PaperboyProducerLee DanielsMatthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman43% [24]
Generation Um...Executive ProducerMark MannKeanu Reeves0% [25]
StolenExecutive ProducerSimon WestNicolas Cage, Malin Åkerman, Bruce Willis16% [26]
2013Ain't Them Bodies SaintsProducerDavid LoweryCasey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster81% [27]
All Is LostExecutive ProducerJ. C. ChandorRobert Redford94% [28]
The ButlerProducerLee DanielsForest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey, Terrence Howard, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda73% [29]
Dallas Buyers ClubExecutive ProducerJean-Marc ValléeMatthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn94% [30]
2014She's Funny That WayExecutive ProducerPeter BogdanovichOwen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Rhys Ifans, Cybill Shepherd, Ahna O'Reilly, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Punch
A Case of YouExecutive ProducerKat CoiroJustin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Sam Rockwell, Sienna Miller, Brendan Fraser, Vince Vaughn, Peter Dinklage40% [31]
Hateship, LoveshipProducerLiza JohnsonKristen Wiig, Hailee Steinfeld, Guy Pearce, Christine Lahti57% [32]
Reach MeProducerJohn HerzfeldSylvester Stallone
Parts per BillionExecutive ProducerBrian HoriuchiJosh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson, Teresa Palmer, Penn Badgley, Gena Rowlands
Black and WhiteExecutive ProducerMike BinderKevin Costner, Octavia Spencer
We'll Never Have ParisExecutive ProducerSimon Helberg
Jocelyn Towne
Melanie Lynskey, Simon Helberg, Zachary Quinto, Maggie Grace
Midnight ManExecutive ProducerRob Kennedy
TheoExecutive ProducerEzna Sands
ShreveportExecutive ProducerRyan PhillippeRyan Phillippe
ShelterExecutive ProducerPaul BettanyJennifer Connelly, Anthony Mackie
I OriginsCo-Executive ProducerMike CahillMichael Pitt, Brit Marling
Burying the ExExecutive ProducerJoe DanteAnton Yelchin, Ashley Greene
2015Queen of the DesertProducerWerner HerzogNicole Kidman James Franco, Robert Pattinson
SubmergedExecutive ProducerSteven C. MillerTalullah Riley
The Knife ThrowerExecutive ProducerTerry NemeroffLars Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng, Patrick Bauchau, Carlos Bardem, Jon Gries, Aksel Hennie



  1. ^ Film Festival Today article 25 Most Influential People in Independent Film
  2. ^ "'Cassian Elwes, Black List’s Franklin Leonard Will Take A Wannabe Scribe To Sundance'". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  3. ^ "'Cassian Elwes Launches Indie Screenwriting Fellowship'". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  4. ^ "'Producer Cassian Elwes and Black List Team for Independent Screenwriting Fellowship'". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  5. ^ "'Cassian Elwes May Take You To Sundance If You Have Not Earned $5,000'". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  6. ^ "'Cassian Elwes and the Black List Will Bring a Screenwriter to Sundance'". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  7. ^ "''Screen Daily'' article on Cassian Elwes". 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Michael (27 May 2009). "''Variety'' article on Cassian Elwes". Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  9. ^ "Nomads". Rotten Tomatoes. 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  10. ^ "White of the Eye". Rotten Tomatoes. 2008-08-02. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  11. ^ "Men At Work". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  12. ^ "The Dark Backward (The Man with Three Arms)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  13. ^ "The Chase". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  14. ^ "What Is It?". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  15. ^ "The Other Woman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  16. ^ "Blue Valentine". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  17. ^ "Henry's Crime". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  18. ^ "The Big Bang". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  19. ^ "Margin Call". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  20. ^ "The Son of No One". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  21. ^ "Sarah Palin: You Betcha!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  22. ^ "The Words". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  23. ^ "Lawless". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  24. ^ "The Paperboy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  25. ^ "Generation Um...". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  26. ^ "Stolen". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  27. ^ "Ain't Them Bodies Saints". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  28. ^ "All Is Lost". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  29. ^ "Lee Daniels' The Butler". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  30. ^ "Dallas Buyers Club". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  31. ^ "A Case Of You". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  32. ^ "Hateship Loveship". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 

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