Mike Stenson

Whenever one considers the faceless entities conjured by the term "studio execs," the picture is hazy at best, but producer Mike Stenson is the reality of the cliché. His executive reign began in the 1990s, and coincided with the beginning of a long-term collaboration with blockbuster mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Stenson's initial credits came as a production executive with Walt Disney Studios, first on the Michelle Pfeiffer-starring inner-city teacher drama "Dangerous Minds" in 1995, followed by more prototypical Bruckheimer action fare, 1996's "The Rock," with Sean Connery, Ed Harris, and Nicolas Cage, the latter of whom became a Bruckheimer-Stenson go-to actor. In the 2000s, Stenson's collaboration with Bruckheimer began in earnest, with the production coming straight from Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Stenson and his fellow-Bruckheimer right-hand men came out with such big budget movies as the war romance "Pearl Harbor" and the military action movie "Black Hawk Down," both in '01, before hitting the franchise goldmine in '03 with the first of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" mega-hits, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." The series, starring Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, was birthed from a Disneyland ride, and, in a sense, it brought Stenson full circle, back to Disney again.