Producer Ladd Vance
Producer Ladd Vance [Rosenberg], named after [actor-producer] Alan Ladd Sr., comes from a showbiz family. His father Kenny was a founding member of the 1960s pop group Jay and the Americans. His mother, after her divorce from Kenny in 1978, became a costume designer in Hollywood. And Ladd's brother Gregg is an actor and real estate salesman.
"My dad was a Jew," Vance tells me at his Raw Entertainment office March 8, 2002. "And in the 1960s, he couldn't go to the South with the last name Rosenberg. So he used the name Vance. Jay and the Americans sang such hits as This Magic Moment and Come a Little Bit Closer. They opened for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
"I grew up with the last name of Rosenberg. Then when I was going to highschool in Queens. And my highschool was a little bit prejudiced towards Jews. So I changed my last name to Vance. But Rosenberg was on my license. And so word got out. The first three movies I got credits on, I went by Rosenberg-Vance so my grandparents could see. They have the name Rosenberg.
"I grew up in Rockway Beach, Queens and in Long Island. My mom was a housewife and my dad was in the music business and would travel a lot. At some point, his infidelity led my mother to divorce him after 15 years. He did music for Animal House and American Hot Wax (life story of disc jockey Alan Freed) in Los Angeles. So my mom come out here and met a lot of people through my dad. She ended up moving to LA and starting her career as a costume designer.
"I went to Boston University and during the summer I'd come out to Los Angeles to work as a production assistant (PA) for such directors as Michael Bay and Brian Gibson, who dated my mom. I met producer Joel Silver on the movie Action Jackson and I became his personal assistant for three years. I did a lot of grunt work for him. I answered his phone. He'd have 30 things in development at a time and I think that's a key to being successful.
"I saw him sell the movie Action Jackson in five phone calls. And there wasn't even a script yet. He was walking around the office saying, 'He's back. He's bad. He's mad. He's black. He's Carl Weathers. He's Action Jackson.'
"Joel had infamous fights while I worked for him with Arnold Schwartzeneger and [producer] Larry Gordon. Fights that have lasted to this day. Once you die in Joel Silver world, you're dead. He has a 'Dead List.' People that just don't exist anymore in his world.
"It was an incredible experience to be around him. He's like P.T. Barnum of the Barnum & Bailey circus.
"After three years with Joel, I thought that I wanted to be an actor. Joel brought in a new production chief at his company, Michael Levy, who wanted to start with a clean slate. Joel brought me in and said: 'We have to clean out the whole development staff. I don't want to let you go. Maybe you can come be my assistant again.' I said, 'I've been studying acting. Why don't you give me a part so I can get my SAG card?'
"I lost my job at Silver Pictures and got my SAG card within a week. And I wound up working as a PA again and as a Second AD (Assistant Director) on some commercials. With my friend Robin Fellows, I produced the [1993 short film] The Waiter, starring David Schwimmer and Sally Kellerman."
Next Vance produced the 1994 film Embrace With a Vampire, which features Who's the Boss TV star Allyssa Milano in numerous nude scenes.
"Charlotte [Milano] is a good girl virgin who is having some very bad dreams about sex. These dreams are courtesy of the vampire. Charlotte begins to change but as long as she remains pure for three days, the vampire will take her and they will live eternally together." (Imdb.com)
I found this report on the internet from the 1995 Daily Star:
Martin [Kemp], star of steamy film Embrace With A Vampire, is back in biting form after nearly dying of a brain tumour. The former Spandau Ballet singer plays an evil monster bent on seducing a virgin. And to make sure he's not biting off more than he can chew, the toothy Casanova gets in a bit of practice with a string of women who fall victim to his hypnotic powers.
"Martin really enjoyed himself," said producer Ladd Vance. "He's a faithful, loving husband and father in real-life, but he admitted he had a good time in the sex scenes!"
Vance said of the film : "It is quite raunchy, but it is tasteful."
Actress Charlotte Lewis plays a photographer who seduces female co-star Alyssa Milano.
It's a far cry from 22-year-old Alyssa's role as a goody two-shoes in TV sitcom Who's The Boss. Vance said: "We had a body double on hand, but she wasn't used. Alyssa had it in her contract that she could refuse to do some naked scenes, but she felt comfortable with it. Her mum had a long meeting with the director to talk the whole thing over."
Ladd: "It was a sexy thriller vampire movie, which has gotten a lot of Internet exposure. She had a body double on set. But for whatever reason, she wanted to do the nude scenes. I think that what was really going on at the time was that she was revengeful towards an ex-boyfriend [actor Scott Wolfe?]. I think she took it out on him through being in this movie. And at the end of the day, I don't think her and her family and her camp were happy that she participated in that way. The film is one of the best selling videos on the Internet
"The film was pirated so much on the Internet that her mom created an organization [to go after people who post such pictures on the Internet].
"I met this director named Ash [Ashley Baron Cohen] who wanted to make the film Bang . He wanted the actor Peter Greene who starred in my short film [The Waiter]. I secured Peter Greene to star in Bang. Then I got them a free camera package and free development of the film. And the next thing you know, I'm a producer of the movie, just because of all the things I've brought to the table."
Here's a plot summary of Bang: "A young woman in LA is having a bad day: she's evicted, an audition ends with a producer furious she won't trade sex for the part, and a policeman nabs her for something she didn't do, demanding fellatio to release her. She snaps, grabs his gun, takes his uniform, and leaves him cuffed to a tree where he's soon having a defenseless chat with a homeless man. She takes off on the cop's motorcycle and, for an afternoon, experiences a cop's life. She talks a young man out of suicide and then is plunged into violence after a friendly encounter with two "vatos." She is torn between self-protection and others' expectations. Is there any resolution for her torrent of feelings?" (Imdb.com)
Ladd: "Bang got a lot of critical acclaim and helped me land a job running the film company Ministry of Film, financed by Alan Mruvka, one of the founders of the E! channel. He'd already made his own money, so he wasn't aggressive. He didn't have anything to prove to anyone. I served as Associate Producer on Digging to China  starring Kevin Bacon."
Luke: "What was your 1996 series Erotic Confessions?"
Ladd: "HBO wanted to do a sexy show and they thought we were the right producers because of Embrace of the Vampire. We made 70 episodes and it was good experience in how to shoot a massive amount of television in a short amount of time. It's not necessarily the type of career move that I wanted to make at that point in my life. After getting a thumbs up from Roger Ebert [for Bang] and discovering David Schwimmer.
"Alan Mruvka dissolved Ministry of Film in 1997 and started Filmtown, a foreign sales company. Alan had some legal issues with my partner in Ministry, who happened to be my mother. They're now in a lawsuit. I worked for Alan for a year after the suit launched, and that was difficult.
"Filmtown financed David Mamet's film State and Main . I felt like I had a higher profile in town. We were attaching talent to projects. People were coming to me for financing. But it only lasted a few years and Filmtown dissolved. Joey Nittolo became partners with Alan Mruvka before launching out on his own with this company Raw Entertainment, where I'm Vice President of Production. We're a commercial, video and film production company.
"My mom's still working as a costume designer and she has projects that she's running around trying to produce. My dad's singing du-op in Las Vegas. I saw him in Las Vegas a month ago. He opened at the MGM for Jay Leno. And my brother's an actor, director, producer and real estate agent. And he just had a baby."
Gregg Vance appeared in several of his brother's productions including The Waiter, Embrace of the Vampire, Erotic Confessions and Red Letters.