If you follow Robert Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of Celularity on Twitter (@HaririRobert), you will likely find images of him giving an educational talk, perhaps a tweet congratulating someone for completing a half marathon, and most likely some pictures or videos of him enjoying one of his favorite hobbies (i.e., flying). But as you scroll, you will likely see pictures of Hariri with celebrities he refers to as “good friends” (e.g., flying buddy Harrison Ford). Hariri’s bio makes for interesting reading. For example, in addition to being a CEO and serving on several corporate boards, he’s a jet aviator, a surgeon, a biomedical scientist, and a successful serial entrepreneur in two industries (i.e., biomedicine and aerospace). He’s published more than 200 chapters, articles, and abstracts, and has over 170 issues and pending patents. But none of this explains how Hariri got into the business of producing feature films and documentaries, though this explains how he has come to know folks like Ford.
During a recent interview of Hariri for an upcoming feature in Life Science Leader magazine, my curiosity got the best of me, and so I asked how he got into the film business. “Quite accidentally,” he admits. It all started with readying for his daughter’s thirteenth birthday. “I asked what she wanted, and she said just to have dinner with a few friends to talk about one of their favorite TV stars,” he recalls. But the dutiful dad thought it might be a cool surprise if that celebrity just happened to show up at the dinner gathering. So, Hariri made inquiries with the actress’s agent to see what all was involved in putting together an “appearance agreement.” He recalls when the actress and his daughter met, it was as if they were long lost sisters, and quickly became great friends. “I met the agent, and they started introducing me to people in the film business,” the CEO relates.
The first film project Hariri became interested in was a baseball-oriented movie (i.e., Off The Black). A former college athlete and fan of baseball, Hariri decided to finance the movie. “That’s how I got to know Nick Nolte [an actor in the movie], and that’s how I got into the business,” he shares. But Hariri views it as more of a learning experience than anything else. “I’ve made a lot of great friendships, from which I’ve learned an entirely new approach to communication,” he explains. But what has really amazed Hariri is how many folks in Hollywood are extremely fascinated by what it is he does. Hariri’s interest in athletics, as a former college football player and medical school rugby player, also led him to found a company in the emerging field of muscle health. MyosRens, has brought a technology called Fortetropin to the market as one of the most effective ways to promote muscle growth and recovery.