Producer/CEO, Chestnut Ridge Productions; Past CEO, MGM/Cruise/Wagner Productions
Paula Wagner currently helms Chestnut Ridge Productions, developing and producing film, television, theater, and new media projects.
Wagner has worked in the top ranks of the entertainment industry as a talent agent, producer, and studio executive. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency where she spent 15 years representing some of Hollywood's top actors, directors, and writers. In 1993, she moved on to producing and launched Cruise/Wagner (C/W) Productions with her former CAA client Tom Cruise. For more than a decade, C/W produced critically-acclaimed films, including the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise, WITHOUT LIMITS, SHATTERED GLASS, NARC, THE OTHERS, VANILLA SKY, ELIZABETHTOWN, THE LAST SAMURAI, and ASK THE DUST, and Steven Spielberg’s WAR OF THE WORLDS, which Wagner executive produced.
Wagner was co-owner and CEO of United Artists Entertainment, LLC from 2006 to 2008. During her tenure, UA released the Robert Redford political thriller LIONS FOR LAMBS and the World War II thriller VALKYRIE.
Additional producing credits include the film MARSHALL, through her film, theatre and television company, Chestnut Ridge Productions. Marshall stars Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad and Kate Hudson. The critically-acclaimed and award winning Lifetime original movie FIVE and The Governors Awards ceremony for AMPAS, 2013. Paula also produced both the 2011 and 2012 Producers Guild Awards show.
Her Broadway producing credits include the upcoming new musical PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL starring Samantha Barks and Andy Karl, THE HEIRESS starring Jessica Chastain & David Strathairn, GRACE starring Paul Rudd & Michael Shannon and Terrence McNally’s TONY nominated play MOTHERS AND SONS.
Wagner was honored by WOMEN IN FILM with the Crystal Award for Excellence in Film in 2016. Premiere magazine with the Women in Hollywood Icon Award in 2001. The following year she was featured in Bravo's "Women on Top," a documentary which profiled exceptional women in entertainment. In 2004, she and Cruise were honored by Daily Variety as "Billion-Dollar Producers." That same year, Wagner and Cruise received the UCLA/Producers Guild of America Vision Award. In 2006, Wagner received the Sherry Lansing award from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization. In 2008, Wagner was honored by the Costume Designers Guild with its Swarovski President's Award. In 2011, she earned the Chicago Film Festival’s Renaissance Award and in 2012 Wagner was honored at the 38th Deauville American Film Festival.
Wagner is a member of AMPAS, PGA, the Broadway League and a former member of Actor’s Equity and Screen Actors Guild. She serves on the boards of The American Cinematheque and National Film Preservation Foundation. She is a Lifetime Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and an adjunct faculty member for the Master of Entertainment Industry Management program.