Baer, Siegel to top BGE pix division

Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, as part of its plan to heighten its film profile, has named senior veepees of production Matthew Baer and Michael Siegel as joint heads of its motion picture division.

The company, which has developed powerhouse TV and management divisions, is now hoping to similarly bolster its film arm. Baer, 33, and Siegel, 36, will work with BGE chairman Brad Grey and prexy Lloyd Braun to develop and produce a slate of projects both for Brillstein-Grey management clients as well as other stars.

“We haven’t given any attention to the motion picture business,” said Grey. “We’ve been almost totally focused on the management business and TV. Now, it’s time for us to give the same focus and attention to the movies.”

BGE has its first production due out next February with “Replacement Killers” from Columbia Pictures. The pic, which stars Mira Sorvino and Hong Kong sensation Chow Yun-Fat, was overseen by Baer.

Grey added that the company, which has more than 20 projects in development at various studios, will be more selective in what it develops under Baer and Siegel. “I’d rather do less and give them the time and attention they need,” Grey said.

Some of those currently in development at BGE include “Whispers” at Disney, “American Neurotic” at Columbia and Garry Shandling’s “What Planet Are You From” at Columbia. BGE has a production deal with Universal.

The company manages careers for Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, Cher, Garry Shandling, Gary Sinise, Bill Maher, Christian Slater, Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and Madeleine Stowe, among others.

The TV side will produce 10 series for the upcoming TV season, including “The Larry Sanders Show,” “News Radio,” “The Naked Truth,” “Just Shoot Me,” “C-16: FBI,” “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Alright Already,” “Mr. Show” and “Def Comedy Jam.”

The film division was started under former prexy of production Howard Rosenman, who left in 1996 to become an independent producer. Grey said the unit may add some development and production executives to its ranks under Baer and Siegel.

Baer, who has been with the company for two years, was primarily responsible for bringing in and producing “Replacement Killers.” He has set up a number of projects, including “Keys of the Kingdom” for TriStar Pictures and “Jimbo’s Stand.” He also is exec producing Warner Bros.’ “Jack Frost,” which Sam Raimi will helm in December starring George Clooney.

Before joining BGE, Baer worked for Giant Pictures, developing such pics as “The Fountainhead” and “Exit Now.”

Siegel came to BGE in February to create a literary division. He has already sold a project based on Elmore Leonard’s “Cube Libre” to Universal. Other recent projects he has set up include Bill Joyce’s “Tiny, Space Dog of the Stratosphere” to Disney, John le Carre’s “Our Game” to Tradewinds, Michael Golding’s “Simple Prayers” to Columbia and David Baldacci’s “Total Control” to TriStar Pictures.

Prior to joining Brillstein-Grey, Siegel was with CAA as a lit agent and before that he managed his own lit agency. Some of his clients included Leonard, Rafael Yglesias, Le Carre, Anne Tyler, the Roald Dahl Estate, Joyce, Jay Cantor and Robert Owen Butler.

“Matt and Michael have made an important contribution to our company in their short time here,” said Grey. “We have great confidence in their ability to help us build a strong and dynamic motion picture business.”

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