Searchlight illuminates Ormond deal

Julia Ormond’s production banner, Indican Prods., has inked a two-year first-look deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Under the pact, Ormond will produce, direct and write projects for the 20th Century Fox arthouse division.

“We’re very proud to have Julia Ormond on board,” said Searchlight topper Lindsay Law. “In addition to being a wonderful actress, she is a bright and canny producer whose taste makes her a perfect match for Searchlight.”

The Brit actress is currently in Moscow lensing Nikita Mikhalkov’s “The Barber of Siberia” for Intermedia. Indican Prods. and Ormond’s producing partner Jean Gottlieb are based in New York.

“We are delighted to have Indican based at Fox Searchlight,” said Ormond. “Lindsay Law’s sensibility is creating the perfect niche. He has a terrific team and we are very happy to be working with him.”

Ormond starred last year in Bille August’s “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” for Searchlight. The first project she has brought in under the new deal is “Telling Lies,” an original screenplay by Andrew Marin that Ormond is set to produce.

“Telling” is about an FBI polygraph expert accused of falsifying a polygraph test at the behest of the mob. He is convicted and sentenced to five years. Upon his release, he learns that he had been set up by his lover.

She recently served as executive producer on the docu “Calling the Ghosts: A Story of Rape, War and Women,” currently running on Cinemax as part of their “Reel Life” series. The film chronicles the torture of two Muslim women in the former Yugoslavia and their decision to speak out against their attackers. “Calling” won the Nestor Almendros Award at the 1996 Human Rights Watch Intl. Film Festival, and was an official selection at the Toronto and Berlin Film Festivals as well as a nominee for best feature by the Intl. Documentary Assn.

Ormond first caught Hollywood’s eye in “Legends of the Fall,” in which she portrayed the woman who married into the three brothers’ family. Her other credits include “Sabrina,” “Captives” and “First Knight.”

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