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‘Ambulance’ Producer Bradley Fischer Talks Blockbusters and Producing Art for Story vs. Profit

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal in Ambulance

Bradley Fischer is the kind of producer you want to see in Hollywood. He looks at movies he loves and stories he wants to tell and he clearly has fun doing his job. I spoke with Fischer, the producer of Michael Bay’s latest action-packed ride Ambulance, I spoke with him about the movie and what drew him into Bay’s world of Los Angeles in the first place.

“One big part of it is that it’s not just a straight ahead action movie. There’s humor and the relationships between these characters really are a big part of what drives the storytelling and keep it going,” Fischer said about what drew him to Ambulance in the first place.

“Because, I mean, I remember just through the development process over the years, feeling like Chris Fedak, who wrote the script, did such a remarkable job of just when you think this story can’t find another turn to make, it levels up. And something else happens. And I think a big part of that as much as the action and the twists and turns that it takes really are from the characters, and what starts to unfold in the back of that ambulance between these two brothers-slash-best friends who grew up together, and this paramedic who got thrust into this crazy situation and on, you know, all on this Wednesday in Los Angeles.”

Fischer also produced one of my all-time favorite movies, Zodiac, and what was fascinating about our conversation was that he pointed out that the film wasn’t a commercial success but has instead gained acclaim and attention after the fact. The lack of initial take-off didn’t make Fischer regret making the movie, though.

“I think you just have to, you know, start with looking for things that move you as a producer and then find, hopefully, filmmakers and actors who are also moved by the same material who can kind of take what you see in it and elevate it even more and, you know, hopefully bring it to a huge audience and move millions. I think that’s, you know, that’s the goal. I mean, Zodiac, when it first came out, did not do well financially. I still remember the Variety headline, which was Hogs zap Zodiac. We came out against Wild Hogs,” he said explaining how it felt seeing how Zodiac was performing at the box office.

He went on to talk about how the legacy of these movies are lasting in the end. “It was a very depressing Monday morning, seeing the two trades, physical copies, back in the day of the two trades on my desk with the smaller Hollywood Reporter sitting on top of the larger daily Variety. But no, I mean, hearing you say how much you loved the film, like 15 plus years later is, I mean, that’s the best kind of affirmation of knowing, well, it was worth it, right? If it’s just a test time like that.”

Fischer is excited for audiences to finally see Ambulance, which stars actors we adore like Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza González. “I hope audiences get taken away from the wariness of everything we’ve been dealing with for the last two years and have a good time. I think it’s a ride. I think it goes back to films like Bad Boys that they did early in his career when they really changed, in my opinion, [Michael Bay] really changed the Hollywood blockbuster and what that was. So I think in some ways it’s a throwback, but, I hope that it’s one of the reasons that people get to leave their home—a reason to leave their home and go into a theater and remember what it’s like when the lights go down and they can just be transported for a couple of hours, and walk out with a big smile on their face.”

Ambulance is in theaters now.

(image: Universal Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.