He started with the company in 1996 and produced the three ‘Expendables’ films, the ‘Mechanic’ movies and dozens of other pictures.
John Thompson, the longtime head of production at Millennium Films who helped shepherd the company’s lineup of high-testosterone action fare like the Expendables movies, has died. He was 71.
Thompson died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a battle with leukemia, a Millennium spokeswoman announced.
Thompson started at the company when it was launched in 1996 and had a long association with Millennium principals Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Danny Dimbort, Danny Lerner and Boaz Davidson.
He produced the 2011 reboot of The Mechanic and its 2016 sequel, both starring Jason Statham, as well as Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016) and the upcoming Angel Has Fallen, all featuring Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman.
After producing Rambo (2008), Thompson worked with Sylvester Stallone again in all three of the Expendables flicks, released in 2010, 2012 and 2014. His recent credits also include Brooklyn’s Finest (2009), Ryan Reynolds’ Criminal (2016) and Acts of Vengeance (2017), starring Antonio Banderas.
“John Thompson was my friend and collaborator for 38 years,” Davidson said in a statement. “He was a brilliant producer, full of vision and creativity. As our head of production, he was loved and respected by the whole Millennium family, by the crews and by the talent. John’s passing is a colossal personal loss for all of us.”
Born in Pittsburgh and raised in Rome, Thompson early in his career served as a line producer on X-Ray (1981), directed by Davidson, for Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan’s The Cannon Group.
He spent nearly a decade at that indie company, also working on such European prestige pictures as Lina Wertmuller’s Camorra (1985), Franco Zeffirelli’s Otello (1986) and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Everybody’s Fine (1990) as well as The Comfort of Strangers (1990), from American filmmaker Paul Schrader.
Thompson’s first project at Millennium was Looking for Lola (1997), which he co-wrote with Davidson as well as produced. Other producing efforts around that time included American Perfekt (1997), Susanna Styron’s Shadrach (1998), George Hickenlooper’s The Big Brass Ring (1999), Guinevere (1999), Prozac Nation (2001), Replicant (2001) and Undisputed (2002).