/Movie Producer Ben Stranahan: Endless Possibilities in Hollywood

Movie Producer Ben Stranahan: Endless Possibilities in Hollywood

Watching actor, movie producer, and musician Ben Stranahan play the piano blindfolded, you get the impression he is totally at ease with himself and the instrument. He wrote the piece himself, and as his fingers glide over the keys, his body is relaxed. When he finishes, he pulls off the blindfold and smiles. “I like to do that sometimes,” he says. “I believe you should trust yourself and your abilities because when you do, the possibilities for what you can do are endless. That philosophy has helped me to become a better musician and all-around artist.”

It has also taken him to where he is in Hollywood today: the partner/producer at Tip-Top Productions and the producer of Monstrous, a film with Christina Ricci about a traumatized woman who flees her abusive ex-husband with her young son, only to find a bigger, more terrifying monster to deal with. Ben is rapidly becoming one of the most in-demand movie producers in Hollywood, yet he laughs when he remembers how he got his start in show business.

“It’s very memorable to me,” he says, smiling. “I was in middle school and got a part in a play our theatre division was doing. I think I was so nervous trying out that I thought I might throw up, but then when I walked out onto the stage to read my lines and sing ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story, my stage fright vanished. Suddenly, I was at ease, and I had never felt so confident. I knew I had found what I was meant to do.”

Ever the musician, Ben got into a band once he was in high school and excelled at the drums and piano. “At the end of a long day at school, nothing felt better than drumming or improvising,” he remembers. “I had a lot of passion that I let out through my music. I also got started with making some short films. That’s where I learned how much fun it is to be behind the camera as well as in front of it. That got me thinking about what I might do with it as a career.”

When high school was finished, Ben took his musical ability to the next level by attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music Summer Program. “That was a great experience and very intense,” he states. “I picked up a lot of great tips from awesome teachers who were dedicated to helping me improve.”

The big moment, however, was when he stepped onto Los Angeles’ American Academy of Dramatic Arts’ campus as a student. “I had wanted to go there for several years,” Ben says. “Walking around, seeing other students who were just as excited as I was, going to classes, diving deeper into the craft of acting – I would love to relive those days. What I learned at AADA definitely helped to prepare me for my Hollywood career.”

After graduating, Ben began building his career as an actor, producer, and musician. Success came in 2016 when he produced the movie Mean Dreams, which starred Bill Paxton, Sophie Nélisse, Josh Wiggins, and Colm Feore. Ben says that one of his proudest moments was watching it premiere in 2016 at the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and as a Special Presentation at TIFF. “Then it went on to be sold in over fifty countries and to be released theatrically in over ten countries. That was beyond amazing and very satisfying.”

One of his favorite movies to produce and act in was Population Zero. “That was a blast,” says Ben. “It was a psychological thriller and really took the genre in a different direction. Critics around the world liked it. I also enjoyed producing Calibre, another thriller, which was released on Netflix in 2018. That ended up being nominated for four BAFTAs, and it won for one: Best Actor for Jack Lowden. The night we won was absolutely incredible.”

Ben has also found success as a TV producer with The Midnight Anthology, starring Clancy Brown. Its pilot premiered at the New York Television Festival in 2015 and went on to win the Artistic Achievement and Best Director awards at the festival. Ben and The Midnight Anthology team are developing the remaining episodes of the series.

Today, Ben is enjoying being on the rise in Hollywood, but he doesn’t take it for granted. “This business is about working hard every single day and loving what you do,” he says. “The ones who attain success – and keep it – are the ones who constantly strive to improve themselves. Ten or twenty years from now, I want my movies to still be doing well but, more importantly, really mean something to the world. To do that, I have to keep believing in myself and in my team and keep putting everything I have into the movies I produce. If I do that, everything will be possible.”