East alum helps produce movies for the big screen


Courtesy of Steven Asbell

Asbell and his wife Lucy at the Oscars in 2018.

Steven Asbell (‘92) is the President of Production at 20th Century Studios. He is responsible for finding potential movie materials such as books and scripts and then buying or auctioning the materials for his company. Once he does this, it is his job to develop the scripts and work with the writers and directors to make the scripts the best they can possibly be.

Then, Asbell is responsible for the production of movies, such as casting and supervising the production of the film. He oversees the process from the beginning to the end.

Asbell has developed 29 different movies, such as “Prometheus,” “Chronicle,” “Logan,” “The Martian,” “Alien: Covenant,” “Ford vs. Ferrari” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”

He attended the 2020 Oscars.

“It is nice to see great movies get recognized by the Academy, which is made up of people in the film industry,” said Asbell.

“Ford vs. Ferrari” won an Oscar for Film Editing this year. He has had many other honorable awards such as “The Martian” being nominated for Best Picture in 2016 and “Logan”

being nominated for Best Screenplay in 2018. Also, “The Martian” won a Golden Globe in 2015.

Asbell believes that winning awards is a small part of making movies. He said, “Movies are really hard to make and they require years of work and hundreds and hundreds of people. We really just try to make something great that makes an audience want to go see it. We hope that the audience has a memorable experience and that the movies we make touch people.”

Infographic by Emily Mahaffy (‘20)
Asbell helped make all of these movies.

When Asbell went to East, he took an art and film class with Ms. Barbara Hopp, who has since retired.

While he knew since he was ten years old that he wanted to work in the movie industry, he did not really know what that meant. The art and film class that he took helped him appreciate the craft of cinema.

Asbell went to New York University for one semester and then ended up at George Washington University, where he majored in business and media. During college, he went out to Los Angeles for internships, which made a big difference for him. As an intern he mainly made copies and got coffee, but he got to meet some of the executives. Also, he got to see how a movie studio worked while he was there.

“You can prepare as much as you can, but it’s not until you are there when you can appreciate and understand what any of it means,” said Asbell.