Harvey Weinstein on why he risked "The Artist"

Harvey Weinstein is something rare in Hollywood these days - an old-fashioned risk-taking movie mogul.

The co-founder of The Weinstein Company has supported, produced, and distributed some of the most memorable and best-reviewed flicks of the last few decades, from "Pulp Fiction" and "The Piano" to "Cold Mountain" and "Kill Bill."

Never known for avoiding risk, Weinstein recently took a gamble that today's audiences will enjoy a mostly-silent, black-and-white film called "The Artist."

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Weinstein said on "The Early Show" he chose to explore the silent film genre this year because he is a silent movie fan himself.

"I love silent movies. I went to film school," he said. "Chaplin, Keaton are the obvious choices and there are many, many more after that. But I followed this director because he made a James Bond spoof called 'OS 117.' I tried to get my brother to hire him to do 'Scary Movie,' but somehow it didn't work out. So I was a fan of him and knowing he was making a movie in Los Angeles and it's an American movie directed by a French director. ... It's about the early days. But it's really, really funny. Really, really smart, an homage and a love affair with movies and I like those kind of movies."

Weinstein also thought that movie-goers would still want to know more about screen legend Marilyn Monroe in his other current film, "My Week with Marilyn." The movie is a decidedly different approach to the icon's history, a step away from a typical biopic.

Weinstein said, "We found a young boy, 23 years old, first job on a movie to work on a movie that Laurence Olivier is directing Marilyn Monroe in 'The Prince and the Showgirl.' She has an argument with Arthur Miller, her husband. He leaves, he goes off to Paris. The young boy gets closer and closer and then really close and then a romance ensues. And even though the movie takes place over a period of time, we focus on this one gorgeous week where she kidnaps him one day. They go skinny dipping on the lawn of Windsor Castle and go through the Windsor Castle library and it's charming and fun. The movie plays more like a comedy than the serious drama tragedy of Marilyn."

So what's next for Weinstein and the movie business?

Weinstein said, "I think there's two parts of the movie business.

There's the folks who make movies like I do, which try to be a little different, you know, and not follow the rules. And then there's, you know, 'put on a cape and be a superhero.' ... I think people always say 'It's an award season.' It has to be because the award season shines the light on the independent movies that not only our company makes, but five or six other places and also actors go off and do something different and exciting or make a low-budget movie like George Clooney with 'The Ides of March' or 'The Descendents.' That light is an important light to be shown on a film because it gets people into the theater. People who normally wouldn't see that movie, they go and then they have an amazingly good time. It happened last year with 'The King's Speech"...and it happened with..."Black Swan" and "True Grit." People actually went to see something different and something different is a lot better than the same old thing."

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