Why Producer Brian Grazer Enjoys Meeting People Uninterested in His Work

The Hollywood producer definitely made the most of his time at security check.

To kick off Season Two of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeart Radio and Sleep Number, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington sat down with Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer, whose film and television credits include Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Arrested Development, Parenthood, and many more. In a wide-ranging conversation, Huffington and Grazer spoke about everything from how to have a good conversation to Grazer’s relationship with his phone.

While discussing his forthcoming book, Eye Contact: The Power of One on One, Grazer cited his meeting with Edward Teller, the physicist known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb,” as his most surprising eye contact encounter.

Grazer explained that he became interested in Teller when Teller was hired by the Reagan administration to work on the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as “Star Wars,” which aimed to protect the United States from a nuclear strike.

“I met him,” Grazer told Huffington. “I had to go through a barrier of military personnel right near the L.A. airport where they parked a private military jet. I had to go through this barrier that also included very close to a cavity search. Everything went downhill from here.”

“But you still maintained eye contact?” Huffington said.

“I still maintained eye contact,” Grazer replied.

Grazer said he “put a lot of time and energy” into setting up the meeting, but Teller ended up being “pretty crabby,” and expressed no interest in learning about his work. His conversation with Teller didn’t live up to his expectations, but Grazer said “you can reframe the worst of situations” and learn from them.

When Grazer shared his experience with Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, they asked him, “How could you tolerate it?”

For Grazer, who has made curiosity-driven conversations central to his life and career, it was all part of the experience. “I thought it was very interesting to have somebody meet with you that has such a different view of the world.”

To hear the full conversation on iHeartRadio, click here.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

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