‘The Hangover’ Executive Producer Bill Fay Falls in Love With Rare Bourbons (The Fred Minnick Show)

On this episode of The Fred Minnick Show, film producer Bill Fay is the guest, stopping in to talk with Fred over a round of whiskey. Fay has a long resume in the film industry with more than 30 credits, and is perhaps best known for his work on the films The Hangover (2009), 300 (2006) and Independence Day (1996). During the interview, they talk about filmmaking in general, experiences on specific films he produced, how the pandemic will affect the movie industry going forward, whiskey (of course) and much more.

Whiskeys tasted:

  • Eagle Rare 10 Year (14:37)
  • Henry McKenna Bottled in Bond 10 Year (26:58)
  • Michter’s 10 Year Bourbon (33:27)
  • King of Kentucky (48:57)
  • 291 Distillery Colorado Whiskey (1:03:22)
  • H. Hirsch 16 Year (1:11:39)

EPISODE SUMMARY

Fred and Bill talk about a wide variety of things, such as:

  • Bill Fay talks about “nudity riders” in film contracts, remembering the scene from “The Hangover” when Ken Jeong leaps out of the trunk of a car and starts beating people up.
  • Naturally, Fred asks if there’s ever bourbon on the set. “Oh yes,” Bill says. “Actors know how to take care of themselves pretty well.”
  • Fay talks about a new spirits venture he’s launching with a friend, which involves a proprietary method of filtration to improve the flavors in alcohol. Sort of a ramped-up chill filtration process. He then makes a few comparisons between the movie industry and the spirits industry.
  • Bill tells Fred it’s intimidating to taste with him, likening it to having a professional basketball player ask him how to break down a zone defense.
  • Fay talks at length about the making of “300” and how he and director Zack Snyder worked to make the film as much like the graphic novel as possible. When they were finished, they believed they’d made the ultimate “guy” movie – and it turns out, women loved it too.
  • While sipping the Henry McKenna, they talk about acquiring a taste for fine spirits – and how when you first try it, it can seem a bit harsh. Also, it takes Bill a few minutes to get the wax top off the Michters 10 Year, which is pretty standard.
  • He talks about how he came to produce “Independence Day” and why it remains one of his favorite films he’s ever worked on. The film also had another very interesting sports-related “first.” He also tells the story about how the movie’s title came to be – or how it was saved.
  • Bill takes Fred through the process of making a movie, step by step. It might be different than you think.
  • They also talk about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the movie business – and it has quite a lot, as studios are shifting to releasing movies via streaming services.
  • Michter’s and Henry McKenna finish in a tie in the 10-year taste-off. Fred even admits that, at least during this particular session, the Michter’s edged out his old favorite, the McKenna.
  • Fred then gets an education on what the key roles are in the movie business. Fay likens the producer to a general manager of a baseball team, the person who puts the team together, hires the coach, manages the finances, etc. The director is like manager or coach of the team, who is on the field in real time working with the players. And it gets more nuanced from there.
  • They talk about how different the movie industry will be five years from now.
  • Fred on A.J. Hirsch: “Anytime I get to bust this one out, it’s a treat.” The 16-year Hirsch, of course, is considered by many to be the finest bourbon ever made.
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QUOTABLES

Bill Fay, on executive producing a film: “It’s really an amazing operation, because every film you do is completely different. It’s like you’re almost starting a new business. And that new business is not the same as the last business you did.”