Atlanta director talks new movie, working on ‘Real Housewives’ and producing crime docuseries

Kevin Kaufman has accomplished a lot since growing up in Atlanta and Sandy Springs, and attending The Westminster Schools.

After working on “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” and creating Investigation Discovery shows such as “I Married a Mobster” and “The Perfect Murder,” the Atlanta native is celebrating the release of a new feature film.

“Ace the Case” (in theaters today) is a family-friendly drama that follows a young girl (Ripley Sobo) as she witnesses a kidnapping and works with a detective (Susan Sarandon) to solve, or “ace,” the case.

Kaufman’s career hasn’t been without obstacles. He has been involved in a lawsuit regarding his involvement with the original Real Housewives program for years. Kaufman and another one of the show’s former producers allege that they created the "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and were eventually removed from their roles as producers and cut out of the profits.

During an interview to promote “Ace the Case,” Kaufman told the AJC the legal dispute has yet to be resolved. “That nightmare is still going on,” he said.

Here are three questions and answers with the director about his new movie and other projects:

How did you end up creating several documentary series on crime such as “I Married a Mobster” and “The Perfect Murder”?

“It’s not a bad genre to be involved in as a writer and producer because there seems to be an insatiable appetite for viewers for this type of program. And they’re interesting stories. I kind of fell into it by meeting [former NYPD detective and “NYPD Blue” consultant) Rick Tirelli. I’ve been able to write and direct some phenomenal stories.”

An anniversary trip to Italy with your wife inspired “Ace the Case.” What about that trip inspired the film?

“It was the first time that we left our two sons home alone. They were 14 and 22 [years old], but it was nerve-wracking for me. I became neurotic and worried. From that anxiety, when I came back, that was how I started writing Ace the Case.”

Did you have any idea that “The Real Housewives of Orange County” would lead to an entire franchise of reality shows?

“No one knew that it would blow up the way that it did. They accused us of manipulating reality [for the show], but now that’s the hallmark of reality TV.”

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