Mazursky, Creek team up for ‘Poor’

Morgan Creek Prods. and Paul Mazursky are together again, following their collaboration on the veteran filmmaker’s 1989 Oscar-nominated picture “Enemies, A Love Story.”

The indie company has just purchased Mazursky’s original comedy script “Poor, ” which he is set to direct in late fall. MCP’s domestic distribution partner, Warner Bros., will release the picture in the U.S. and Canada, while Morgan Creek Intl. will handle overseas distribution.

Mazursky, who says he hopes to begin lensing in September, was reluctant to divulge the story of “Poor,” other than to say, “It’s a powerful social comedy that takes place in L.A. about the problems of people who get into trouble economically.”

The writer-director-producer said he is casting the movie.

“Poor” extends Mazursky’s relationship with MCP, for which he co-wrote and directed “Enemies, A Love Story,” which received Oscar nominations for supporting actresses Anjelica Huston and Lena Olin and adapted screenplay (by Mazursky and Roger L. Simon, from Isaac Bashevis Singer’s story).

Of his renewed relationship with MCP topper James Robinson, Mazursky said, “Jim is the one who gave me the money for ‘Enemies’ and I’m happy to be there (Morgan Creek) again.”

Robinson said that, based on their past relationship, Mazursky gave the script to MCP exclusively. ICM chairman Jeff Berg brokered the filmmaker’s deal.

“Ever since we did ‘Enemies,’ Paul and I have met on an ongoing basis to discuss ideas and we finally came up with something we both like and want to do, ” Robinson said.

Mazursky noted that in addition to concentrating on preproductionfor “Poor,” he and his frequent screenwriting partner Leon Capetanos are writing a comedy “about spas and other things like that” called “Nirvana” for Hollywood Pictures. He said that picture will likely go next after “Poor.”

He and Capetanos previously collaborated on the screenplays of “Tempest” (’82 ), “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984), “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (’86), and “Moon Over Parador” (’88).

Mazursky’s latest, “The Pickle,” starring Danny Aiello, is due out through Columbia April 30.

Over his 20-year career, Mazursky has directed 14 films, most of which he’s also written and produced. He’s also acted in many of his own films as well as others, including David Seltzer’s “Punchline,” Frank Pierson’s “A Star is Born” and such ’50s movies as Richard Brooks’ “The Blackboard Jungle.”

A veteran of the L.A. company of Second City, Mazursky teamed with Larry Tucker in the ’60s to write the screenplays for “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, “”Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” (marking his directorial debut) and “Alex in Wonderland,” which he also directed.

He followed with writing, directing and producing “Blume in Love” in 1973, co-writing, directing and producing “Harry & Tonto” (1974) and writing, directing and producing with Tony Ray “Next Stop, Greenwich Village” (1976).

Mazursky won a screenplay Oscar for his 1978 “An Unmarried Woman,” which also garnered Jill Clayburgh a best actress nomination.

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