Dame Donna Langley, film studio executive

Desert Island Discs

12-11-2023 • 36 mins

Dame Donna Langley is chairman and chief content officer for the NBC Universal Studio Group, the first British woman in history to run a major Hollywood film studio. She green lit Christopher Nolan’s latest film Oppenheimer and was one of the earliest and most ardent supporters of the Abba movie Mamma Mia.

She was born in London and brought up on the Isle of Wight. She always knew she was adopted as a baby, which she says made her feel special within her family. She left London for Los Angeles when she was in her early twenties, looking for adventure rather than following a career plan.

In LA, she worked in a club on Sunset Boulevard before taking up an internship with a film producer. Later she worked as an assistant at the production studio New Line Cinema, and in 2001 she joined Universal Studios as senior vice president of production.

She says her decision to say yes to a film is based on her gut instinct and whether she loves it. She is a champion of original content and early on in her career backed Straight Outta Compton – the story of the hip hop band NWA – and later Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele. She currently oversees major franchises including Fast and Furious, Despicable Me and Jurassic World.

Dame Donna lives in California with her husband and two children.

DISC ONE: Thank You For The Music - Abba DISC TWO: Zorba the Greek - Mikis Theodorakis DISC THREE: La Wally - composed by Alfredo Catalani and performed by Wilhelmenia Fernandez DISC FOUR: This is the Day - The The DISC FIVE: It Was A Good Day - Ice Cube DISC SIX: Never Is a Promise - Fiona Apple DISC SEVEN: All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem DISC EIGHT: Come Home (feat. André 3000) - Anderson Paak

BOOK CHOICE: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez LUXURY ITEM: Tarot cards CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem

Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

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