“When Andy gives you his word, you know it’s good. And no matter how tough the going gets, you can count on him. He’s got nerves of steel.”

Joe Roth, chairman, Walt Disney Motion Picture Group

“He’s got great respect for the director and courage to do projects that aren’t so easy… He won’t let you down; you can trust him.”

Paul Verhoeven, director of Total Recall

“He’s one of the few people around with the balls to play with his own money. His word carries a lot of weight. He’s personally out on the line. It’s always given me a lot of respect for him. Andy is always involved. He’s your partner or your boss, but he offers guidance as opposed to instructions… He approaches business in a sort of family style. He keeps the same friends for 30 years, and that’s kind of remarkable.”

John McTiernan, director of Medicine Man and Die Hard With a Vengeance

“Vajna defined what would become known as the ‘big action picture’. He really has a wide range of talent and ability.”

Tim Warner, general chairman of film company NATO / ShoWest

“When you work with Andy, the buck stops with him. I don’t deal with anybody else. It becomes very much Andy’s movie, one singer, one song.”

Danny Cannon, director of Judge Dread

“We’re glad to be a part of your lifetime.”

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore to Andy when he received NATO/ShoWest Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995

“Working with Andy was the best experience of my career and he makes the world’s greatest bouillabaisse.”

Steven de Souza, screenwriter Judge Dredd

“Andy doesn’t compare to anybody else in this business. Andy is unique, he’s independent; he’s a rare blend of entrepreneur and film maker. He puts his money on the line time and time again, and he’s won as big as anyone in this town. You’ve got to admire somebody like that.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dream Works SKG Partner

“The profession is never boring. I have found the interesting things in everything I have ever done. So none of my occupations ever seemed like work.”

Andrew G. Vajna

“I fell in love in love with Andy the moment I met him, because for once I’d met a Hungarian in Hollywood who was not only more successful than I was, but also crazier.”

Joe Eszterhas

“I decided to learn something that I could do no matter where I lived – I became a hairdresser. I chose hairdressing because it is a useful skill and one that I could always go back to. Knowing this gave me great security and the freedom to explore other avenues.”

Andrew G. Vajna

“You can’t make an actor act. You have got to create an atmosphere he wants to perform. It can be hell.”

Andrew G. Vajna

Evita’s success

In 1997, 20 years ago, Evita won the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical. The main characters of the film were played by Madonna and Antonio Banderas, and the movie soundtrack was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story focuses on the life of Argentinian political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Juan Perón, President of Argentina. The film, directed by Alan Parker, was shot in Argentina and in Hungary; one of the movie producers, Andy Vajna, played a key role in this decision.

’It was 40 degrees in Argentina, then we arrived to Budapest in January, and it was -6 degrees. This has caused some adjustment for the crew, but we never had any technical issues during the shooting. Both the huge funeral ceremony and the demonstration scene went smoothly. Budapest is a fantastic place for shooting, we see this today also as the world’s biggest movies are shot in Hungary. Evita was one of the first large international productions to shoot in Budapest’ – says Andy Vajna, interviewed by the ’Hello Hollywood’ TV programme.

Golden Globe gala with Antonio Banderas, Robert Stigwood and Alan Parker

’It was very easy to work with Antonio Banderas, he was always helpful and on time. Surprisingly, everything went smoothly with Madonna as well, she loved her role so much that she fully adopted to the shooting of the film and never kept us waiting.’

The winning of the Golden Globe Award was a big surprise for Andy Vajna, which he believes was won mainly as the recognition of director Alan Parker’s work. He argues that music is a key part of the entertainment industry today, and hence there is absolutely nothing better than if someone produces a well-made musical film. Evita has also received further acknowledgments: Madonna won Golden Globe for Best Actress and the movie soundtrack was awarded with both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

April 2017