Name: Nora Grossman
Born: (We aren’t sure yet. Do you know?)
Twenty-six-year old Nora Grossman was unemployed in 2009 when she first heard the story of Alan Turing, a British code breaker who committed suicide in the 1950s after being persecuted because he was gay. Grossman had worked extensively in Hollywood on films and television since graduating from Boston University’s College of Communication, but the movie that would eventually become The Imitation Game was her first major project on her own.
Grossman optioned the rights for the biography Alan Turing: An Enigma and then began the process of producing a film from it. In Hollywood, a producer is the person who is the driving force behind getting a film made. In this case, Grossman got the rights to the book and then started from scratch, turning to people she knew in the industry. At a party, she told writer Graham Moore that she had optioned the book and Moore says he practically begged to write the script on spec, meaning he was not guaranteed that they would buy the script.
But the script was considered good and by 2011 many in Hollywood were counting the script as one of the best out there for a movie that hadn’t been made. Grossman kept working marketing the idea and eventually got the film made with a budget of just $14 million. The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, released in December, 2014 and in its first three months, grossed $160 million worldwide.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, meaning Grossman received a nomination in her first outing as a producer. The film did not win for Best Picture, but Moore’s gamble of a screenplay did win an Oscar for best adaptation.
Estimates of Grossman’s income from the project have not been released, but in December she told The Boston Globe that she probably couldn’t be considered rich and famous, saying that her company doesn’t have much of a reserve. We do know that the distribution rights for the movie sold for $7 million, so it’s fair to say Grossman got some chunk of that money.
How much is $7 million?
For the 2014-2015 school year, tuition at Grossman’s alma mater Boston University is about $46,000 a year. With $7 million, she could pay for 38 additional four-year degrees at that price.