Oscar-winning helmer Jonathan Demme, following the lead of Universal Pictures president of production Marc Platt and co-president of production Stacey Snider, has moved his production company Clinico Estetico to Universal.
U announced Thursday that Demme and his partner, Edward Saxon, inked a three-year, first-look deal with the studio. They will produce features as well as develop projects for Demme to direct.
Demme had a deal at TriStar Pictures, which over the last year has been extended on a month-to-month basis. “The Stopwatch Gang,” which Demme set up at TriStar to direct and produce, will remain at the Sony studio.
Demme and Platt have had a long affiliation dating back to Platt’s days at Orion Pictures and then as the president of TriStar Pictures.
The pair worked at Orion Pictures on such pics as “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Married to the Mob,” with Demme as a helmer, and “Miami Blues,” with Demme and Saxon as producers.
Demme later developed and directed “Philadelphia” for TriStar and then produced “Devil in a Blue Dress” for TriStar with Saxon.
Platt said Demme should fit in well at U, where there are several former TriStar execs who have worked with him in the past.
“He’s worked with Stacey (Snider) closely before and he also worked very well with (U marketing execs) Buffy (Shutt) and Kathy (Jones) on ‘Philadelphia,’ ” Platt said.
Demme said he was happy to be “reunited” with Platt and Snider. “Plus, Universal was the studio wacky enough in days gone by to have believed in ‘Melvin and Howard,’ so this is also a kind of a homecoming for me,” he said.
Demme won the directing and Saxon copped the producing Oscars for “Silence of the Lambs” in 1992. Other pics Demme helmed include “Citizen’s Band,” “Stop Making Sense,” “Something Wild” and “Swimming to Cambodia.”
Demme and Saxon produced “Mandela,” a docu about South African prexy Nelson Mandela, which is set for a March release.