Schiff ankles Fox slot for Disney prod’n deal

After seven years as a producer based at 20th Century Fox, Paul Schiff has inked a three-year, exclusive production deal with Walt Disney Pictures, where he’ll rejoin his former mentor and colleague, Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth.

Though the pact is with Walt Disney Pictures, Schiff’s deal extends across all three of Disney’s film labels — David Vogel’s Walt Disney Pictures and Hollywood Pictures divisions, and Donald DeLine’s Touchstone Pictures unit.

First project set

Schiff’s deal begins immediately and he is already attached to produce his first project along with David Hoberman, the holiday pic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The film goes before the cameras in April.

Schiff joins Disney after nearly three years partnered with Michael London in Horizon Pictures on the Fox lot. During that time the duo developed nearly 20 projects together, including “Highboys and Lowboys,” which has Rupert Everett and Chris Rock set to star; and “Fortune’s Fools,” with Michael Apted attached to direct.

Though Horizon’s deal ends in December and will not be renewed by Fox, the studio allowed Schiff to leave early and begin his stint at Disney.

Continued partnership

Schiff and London will continue to work together on the films they have in development and pre-production.

London intends to remain at Fox through the duration of the deal, and possibly longer with “Fortune’s Fools” and “Highboys and Lowboys” both moving closer to a spring start date.

Before teaming with London in 1994, Schiff produced such Fox films as “My Cousin Vinny,” “The Vanishing,” “PCU” and “Ghost in the Machine.”

Roth history

Schiff first worked with Roth more than 10 years ago after a stint with MTV. Schiff was an associate producer on Roth’s helming debut, “Streets of Gold,” and followed Roth to Morgan Creek, where he produced such films as “Young Guns,” “Young Guns II” and Roth’s last directorial stint, “Coupe De Ville.”

“What can I say other than I love Paul,” said Roth. “We’ve known each other since I hired him as my assistant when he was doing on-air promotion on MTV, and took him with me to Morgan Creek and then Fox. He’s bright, talented and has great taste. I’m thrilled to have him back.”

When Roth joined Fox in 1989, he invited Schiff to join him as a producer on the lot, where he remained after Roth left in 1992.

Schiff will move to the lot next week, where his yet-to-be-named production banner will be housed. He will begin staffing immediately, hiring a senior level executive and a creative exec.

“I’m eager and excited about this new adventure,” said Schiff. “I’m especially thrilled to be back with Joe (Roth), who gave me my start in the business.”

Schiff and DeLine previously worked together developing a remake of Samuel Fuller’s “Shock Corridor” at Fox.

Upon completion of the deal, Schiff was invited by Vogel, Disney senior VP Bernie Goldman and producer Hoberman to produce “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

“I love the idea of hitting the ground running and starting my relationship with the studio in a concrete, aggressive fashion,” he said.

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