Stephen Emery, a producer and film executive who worked for Gale Anne Hurd and Bill Gerber and on films featuring the likes of Clint Eastwood, Anna Kendrick, Liam Hemsworth, Aaron Eckhart and Liam Neeson, has died. He was 46.
Emery died Saturday in a Los Angeles gym after a workout, Big Swell Entertainment CEO Andy Horwitz told The Hollywood Reporter. He recently joined the production company that had launched in October.
“Everyone that had the pleasure to know Stephen Emery is heartbroken over the sudden loss of one of our own,” Horwitz said in a statement. “Stephen was much more than an invaluable producer, he was also an irreplaceable friend. His passion for film was outweighed only by his passion for life, and he lived every day like it was his last. We will miss his adventurous spirit, his loyal friendship and his genuine love for life. Rest in peace, brother.”
Before Big Swell, Emery served as head of film & TV at The Solution Entertainment Group since 2016. He was instrumental in developing, packaging and producing projects for film and television.
He co-executive produced the Netflix film Wheelman (2017), directed by Jeremy Rush and starring Frank Grillo, and exec produced Killerman (2019), directed by Malik Bader and starring Hemsworth; Line of Duty (2019), directed by Steven C. Miller and starring Eckhart; Honest Thief (2020), directed by Mark Williams and starring Neeson; and Werewolves, an upcoming film directed by Steven C. Miller and starring Grillo.
Raised in the San Francisco area, Emery earned a degree in mass communication with an emphasis toward film & television from the University of San Diego, where he played varsity football.
He started his career at CAA, where he worked in the motion picture talent department for three years before moving to DreamWorks and Focus Features.
As a production executive at Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures, he oversaw Aeon Flux (2005) for Paramount. He then ran Gerber’s Warner Bros.-based company, producing such films as Eastwood’s Gran Torino (2008).
From 2008-15, Emery served as executive vp production and development at Circle of Confusion, where he executive produced Mr. Right (2005), starring Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, and Satanic (2016), starring Sarah Hyland.
“We worked together at every stage of our career and were inspired by his joyful approach to filmmaking and zest for life,” frequent collaborators and friends Tai Duncan and Dave Brown said. “Stephen’s passing comes with great shock, especially after he survived and thrived after a sudden heart attack while running a triathlon in 2018.
“Stephen was an exemplification to all of his friends and colleagues of what it meant to live life to the fullest. His loss will be felt deeply in the community, but his true friendship will be remembered and celebrated, always.”
A resident of Redondo Beach, Emery was an avid outdoorsman and a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants, the 49ers and the Grateful Dead.
Donations in his name can be made to No Kill Los Angeles/Best Friends Animal Society.
Survivors include his parents, Jan and Tony; brothers Shawn and Paul; his longtime girlfriend, Chloe; and his dog, Jasper.
“Stephen grew up with a camcorder in his hand making movies in our backyard, and he found his calling in Hollywood,” Shawn Gillis said. “He was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend who connected us all and inspired all to chase their dreams.”