Andrew Lauren had an auspicious first encounter with the world of film. “I started off running a projector for my parents,” he says. “It was before VHS tapes; my father had a deal with Warner Brothers and the chairman of Warner’s—Steve Ross at the time—who used to send him movies.”
From his early days of listening to his mother and father, fashion designer Ralph Lauren, talk to him about Steve McQueen, John Wayne, and the other great stars of the cinema, Lauren developed a passion not only for watching films, but a desire to create his own. “Finding great articles, magazines, or books that I could turn into a potential movie gave me a sense of worth and power,” Lauren says.
The producer’s first film, called G, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 and was inspired by The Great Gatsby. Other critical successes followed, including 2005’s The Squid and the Whale and the documentaries This Is Not a Robbery and Life 2.0. His latest project, The Spectacular Now, premieres August 2 and follows a charming high-school senior who lives for the moment, played by Miles Teller alongside ShaileneWoodley as his mature, bookish girlfriend. While Lauren admits he’s picky with the material he chooses to produce, he knew Spectacular was a home run from the moment the script landed on his desk. “Scott Neustadter, one of the writers, happened to have interned for me years ago,” Lauren says. “I read it, and I was totally taken by the story. Then I saw Scott’s name [along with] Michael Weber, and I [thought] it has come full circle. It was kismet.”
It was no surprise, then, that the film was a massive hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. “The reviews were like I wrote them myself,” says Lauren, who is careful to manage his expectations. “You never know what you have until you really just let it go. It’s like your child: You let it go into the world and hope people accept it.”
Lauren’s own childhood was spent riding in three-wheelers on the beaches of Montauk, capped off with family campfires after sunset. Now, as an adult, he and his two siblings David and Dylan still love to spend time at his family’s East End home, which is often filled with manageable chaos. “A lot of us bring friends so sometimes it gets a little too crowded,” he says. “And we all have dogs now, but we figure that out.”