Prod’n duo inks at Fox

Writer/producer/directors Amy Robinson and Joseph Ruben have joined forces and inked a two-year, first-look deal with 20th Century Fox.

Tom Jacobson, the studio’s prexy of worldwide production, announced the deal late Friday.

Ruben has directed box office-friendly thrillers like Fox’s “The Good Son” and “Sleeping With the Enemy,” while Robinson is best known for producing clever , offbeat fare like Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours” and Sidney Lumet’s “Running on Empty.”

Robinson and Ruben met last year while developing a feature for Universal called “The Lion Sleeps,” and felt their skills were amazing.

United Talent Agency partners Marty Bauer and Peter Benedek represented Robinson and Ruben on the deal.

The duo will work out of a New York production office. They already have several properties on the development fast track at Fox, including an upcoming Random House novel, Stephen Hunter’s “Dirty White Boys.” It’s a chase story pitting a rough-and-tumble Oklahoma lawman against a psychopath who has recently busted out of the joint. Larry Konner (“For Love or Money”) and Mark Rosenthal (“Jewel of the Nile”) are slated to write the screenplay.

Jacobson told Daily Variety, “By putting (Amy) with a director of Joe’s caliber, we double our upside. She will help develop pictures that he can direct. And they will also produce quality pictures for other directors. Its a double win for us.”

According to Jacobson, another benefit of the deal is the duo’s ties to the creative community in New York. The studio hopes the two will act as divining rods for new material from the literary and legit worlds there. Anne Carey, formerly of the William Morris Agency, will be the company’s development head. According to colleagues, Ruben has increasingly been trying to branch out from his niche as a thriller helmer and, thanks to Robinson’s eye for material, it’s hoped that the team will produce both broad commercial dramas and smaller, highbrow fare.

“I’m interested in taking a break from thrillers right now,” said Ruben. “With Amy, I would like to produce and direct a big, star-driven movie.”

Robinson most recently produced Warner Bros.’ recent release “With Honors,” and directed a short film, “Isle of Joy,” that turned heads at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The duo has not been given any specific marching orders in terms of producing either family films or women’s films, despite Fox’s interest in developing niche pix, but Ruben quips, “I always considered ‘Sleeping With the Enemy’ to be the perfect family film.”

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