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.
Recently, she produced the acclaimed movie MARSHALL, starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad and Kate Hudson, through her company, Chestnut Ridge Productions. Currently, Wagner is developing a feature on, SYLVIA ROBINSON, the mother of hip-hop for Warner Bros.
Additionally, she was an executive producer on the critically acclaimed and award winning Lifetime original movie FIVE, five short films directed by five female directors. Wagner produced THE GOVERNORS AWARDS ceremony for the Motion Picture Academy in 2013 and produced both the 2011 and 2012 PRODUCERS GUILD AWARDS show.
Broadway producing credits include the new hit, 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 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 October of 2006, she received the Sherry Lansing award from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization. She was also honored by the Costume Designers Guild with its Swarovski President's Award in 2008, and at the Deauville American Film Festival in 2012. She was one of the recipients of the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards in 2016, and the Cameraimage Producer with Unique Visual Sensitivity award in 2017.
Wagner is a member of AMPAS, PGA, Broadway League and an ambassador of ReFrame for Women in Film, a formal action plan to further gender parity in the media industry.
Wagner is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Entertainment Industry Management program and is a member of the university’s Board Of Trustees.
Prior to her career as an agent and producer, Wagner began as an actress and performed both on and off-Broadway and was a member of the Yale Repertory Company. She is also a published playwright, co-authoring the feminist play "Out of Our Father's House”.