With films grossing more than $3 billion at the box office, producer Suzanne Todd has made a career out of bringing stories to the silver screen. The living room of her Pacific Palisades home, shared with her teenage children, pays homage to her lifelong inspirations — family, books and the magical world of Disney.
Although the modern interior of her 4,480-square-foot home boasts a Marie Kondo level of organization, “fun, energy, creativity and joie de vivre” still prevail through the objects that inhabit the space.
“The only thing that overtakes this house — and frankly every house I’ve lived in — are books. There are books everywhere, but to go with my OCD, they’re all in sections,” said Todd, whose films include “Memento,” “Across The Universe” and the “Austin Powers” and “Bad Moms” franchises.
Naturally, Hollywood and the craft of filmmaking command one section of the library, while another focuses on design and style. There’s even an area devoted solely to Disney.
“I just always loved Disney and Disneyland as a kid because it was a place of imagination, celebration, lights, music, shows and fantasy,” Todd said.
“It’s interesting that I grew up to be a storyteller and a filmmaker, and that I have made so many movies for Disney,” she said. “It’s the storytelling and the characters that were at the heart of it all for me.”
Five black-and-white photos of Disneyland circa 1964 by Renie Bardeau (the park’s staff photographer of 37 years) hang on the wall, birthday gifts from her best girlfriends. One is a famous shot of Walt Disney standing in front of the castle in an empty park.
For her 40th birthday, Todd said, she “had the great privilege” of staying at Disneyland’s exclusive Dream Suite, “and took a version of that same photo but at night, all alone in the park, sitting on the ground in my pajamas.”
She gets to revisit her childhood with video-game duels against her three kids — Dash, 17, Serena, 14, and Hunter, 20 (currently away at Sarah Lawrence College) — on their Arcade Classic game table.
“I will never be as good as Dash at ‘Frogger,’ but no one can beat me at ‘Ms. Pac-Man’ or ‘Centipede,’” Todd said.
Why is your living room your favorite room?
We come together here. Sometimes we play video games; we’re all obsessed with board games. The cabinet is full of everything from Bananagrams to Apples to Apples. Sometimes we watch movies or sometimes we just have the fire on and snuggle with our pets, catch up and have good conversations.
What’s the design inspiration in here?
Function over form. We have a modern aesthetic, and the kids all love that, but I just love things that are clean and that I can keep very organized because I’m super busy with work, kids and all the pets and everything else.
What attracted you to the Pacific Palisades?
I’m very affected by living by the water, and we drive on Pacific Coast Highway and see the ocean every day, which is very grounding and calming. I feel incredibly grateful and I joke with the kids that that’s why we pay more to live in California.
Tell me about the photo of your grandmother.
My grandmother, Joi Lansing, was an actress and was in a lot of movies with Dean Martin and the Rat Pack crowd. That still is from the movie “Marriage on the Rocks,” and the photo below it is of me as a teenager wearing my grandmother’s fancy dress from the photo. She was in the movie “Touch of Evil” very famously in the opening tracking shot. She was a contract player at MGM, which is where my original love of movies, and musicals in particular, came from. She died when I was 10.
Favorite memory in here?
I sound like a terrible person, but there were a couple of days where both Dash and Serena were sick and home from school. I made matzo ball soup and both of them were snuggled on the couch with the pets. Anytime we all spend together is my favorite time. As they get older it becomes less and less, and they’re busier doing their own things, so time that we all get to be together is fun.