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Photo of Paula  Wagner

Paula Wagner

Producer/CEO, Chestnut Ridge Productions, Past CEO, MGM/Cruise/Wagner Productions

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Paula Wagner has worked in the top ranks of the entertainment industry as a film producer, talent agent and studio executive.  She has made films in nine different countries and has been very actively involved in promoting international co-productions. 

In 1993, Wagner formed C/W Productions with her former CAA client Tom Cruise. For the next 13 years, she and Cruise produced a wide range of pictures that earned numerous awards, widespread critical praise, and global box office success.  Under the C/W banner, Wagner’s first film released was the international hit Mission: Impossible, the success of which brought C/W Productions the 1997 Nova Award for Most Promising Producers in Theatrical Motion Pictures.  They went on to produce MISSION IMPOSSSIBLE 2 AND 3 as well. 

Wagner also produced such critically acclaimed films as The Others, The Last Samurai, Vanilla Sky, Without Limits, Shattered Glass and Narc, not to mention such international blockbusters as Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (which Wagner executive produced).

Wagner also served as United Artists Entertainment’s Chief Executive Officer from 2006 to 2008. During her tenure, UA released the Robert Redford political thriller Lions for Lambs and the World War II thriller Valkyrie, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Cruise. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency as an agent where she spent 13 years representing some of the top talent in the industry.

Wagner is now developing films and theatre through her production company Chestnut Ridge Productions (CRP). Her Broadway producing credits include The Heiress starring Jessica Chastain & David Strathairn, Grace starring Paul Rudd & Michael Shannon and Terrence McNally’s new critically acclaimed TONY nominated play Mothers and Sons.

In 2001 Wagner was honored by Premiere magazine with the Women in Hollywood Icon Award and in 2004 Daily Variety as a "Billion-Dollar Producer”. In 2006, Wagner received the Sherry Lansing award from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization.  She was also the recipient of the Excellence in Producing Award at the Sarasota Film Festival and served as the president of the First-Time Directors Jury at the Venice Film Festival. In 2011, she earned the Chicago Film Festival’s Renaissance Award.

Wagner is currently collaborating with Desen International Media on a China-US co-production of MOON FLOWERS OF THE FLYING TIGERS, an epic WWII romantic drama based on a true story.

Wagner is a member of AMPAS where she produced The Governors Awards ceremony in 2013 and serves on the boards of the Producers Guild, Film Forum, American Cinematheque, National Film Preservation Foundation and is a Lifetime Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her degree and is an adjunct faculty member in the MEIM program through the Heinz School of Public Policy. 


BFA, Drama, Carnegie Mellon University