You know Will Packer's work, even if you don't know his name. (But chances are, you know his name and face, as the A-lister is friends with all of Black Hollywood and has been producing some of your favorite film and television projects for nearly two decades.) From Trois to Think Like a Man, Ride Along, Straight Outta Compton, Almost Christmas, and more, Packer has been behind hit after hit on screens big and small.
As one of the few black executives in Hollywood — and one who has enjoyed tremendous success — Packer has a wealth of information. He stopped by The Breakfast Club to share some insight into getting projects made, being one of the first producers to believe in Kevin Hart, and more. One such nugget he dropped was the fact that Aaliyah's estate reached out to him personally to help get her biopic made before the unauthorized Lifetime television movie was released.
The late singer's uncle and manager, Barry Hankerson, owns the rights to her music and has been notoriously territorial, which is why her songs aren't even on music streaming services. But Hankerson trusted Packer to get Aaliyah's story told. Packer then told the real deal of how Hollywood works:
_Barry Hankerson called me. Actually, true story: We were going to take that into Universal. I was like I can see that being on the level of a Ray, you know, a big, theatrical music biopic. And the network beat him to it, and did it unauthorized, and got some of the music rights, and put it out there. Well now, that story has been told. It's not to say it can't be told again, but a studio is not gonna spend $20 million to tell it, when people were able to go home and watch it for free on television._
Packer is currently producing two series for BET, Being Mary Jane and the upcoming HBCU drama The Yard. Watch his entire interview on The Breakfast Club above.