"Running Scared" exec producer Matt Luber is taking his victory lap.
The guy who once ran with the Penn Valley crowd is on the fast track these days to success in Hollywood, where he has managed to run a prominent talent managing company and serve as up-and-coming producer.
And having a Walker - or, more specifically, hunk hottie Paul Walker - as his "Running" star may speed up his ascent up the corporate ladder.
But then, Zayda Jack always knew that the kid who got a video recorder for his Bar Mitzvah would break his own records some day.
"He didn't live to see my other successes," says Luber of his grandfather, Jack Greenblatt of Allentown, "but he was the one who called [director] John Landis, a fifth cousin, and said, when I was in my last year at the University of Arizona, 'Can you help my grandson out?' "
Help was on the way: It was off to Hollywood for "Beverly Hills Cop 3," where the third one was the charm for Luber.
As he recalls, "I packed my U-haul and drove out there."
That call from Allentown to Tinseltown was the talk of the town in the Luber family. "I decided to stay in Los Angeles, and called my professor at Arizona, who said since I only had one more credit for graduation, he would waive it and give me credit for independent study."
From independent study to independent filmmaker is a Hollywood story all its own. Would it make a good screenplay?
Luber became a player: "I'm definitely playing the game," he says.
Rule No. 1: Never forget the stars you first worked with. That, says Luber with a smile, would be Jeff Gittleman, his co-producer/star on those short hockey movies he made with his Bar Mitzvah camera 20 years ago in Penn Valley.
A Friendly Visit
Payback is a callback.
"Jeff," says Luber of the now-lawyer and still good friend, "is coming to a screening of 'Running Scared' tonight."
Tonight, tonight won't be just any night; tonight there will be no morning star - but there will be a producer with a moon glow.
"This shows my client, Paul, in a new light," reveals Luber of the action/thriller film and the way it showcases one of the stars of his management stable.
He admires his star second to none; and Walker, also on screen now in "Eight Down," is top dog in this mob story crowded with good actors.
"Paul will always come first."
First and foremost, Walker is the star also of the upcoming "The Death & Life of Bobby Z," which Matt L. will produce.
It's all mighty apparent that Luber - set to produce "Bruce Almighty II," too - is too happy with both aspects of Hollywood - management and production - to give either short-shrift.
He's not shortsighted either, valuing a story of family values inspired by his late grandfather, who, like Luber's other grandparents - Jack's surviving wife Ruth, and Mark and Lila Luber - remain inspirations.
Manager, producer … writer?
"Well, there was one script I wrote years ago," says Luber almost sheepishly. "It was about my grandfather Jack and his experiences in Brookville, Ohio, as a young man playing baseball and dealing with the anti-Semitism in town. It was a 'Hoosiers' meets 'School Ties.' "
The tie that binds is family. And, who knows, allows Luber, maybe that script - which got him a thumbs-up grade in college - might find its way to a local theater screen.
Going to bat in honor of his grandfather's memory and battling anti-Semitism?
"I would like to put that together again someday," he says.
Bet he knows the right producer and manager to help it on its way.