Exec fills production prexy post

Scott Strauss, vice president of creative affairs at Kopelson Entertainment for the last three years, will hole up with the Outlaw Productions gang to run feature development and production in a new post as president, according to Outlaw founding partners Bobby Newmyer and Jeffrey Silver.

The decade-old Outlaw recently re-upped its four-year-old first-look deal with Warner Bros., and signed a new co-production agreement with foreign film sales company Intermedia, in partnership with Japanese-based TV and film firm Fuji Television Network. In his new position, Strauss will play a central role in developing and overseeing new projects to fill the expanded Outlaw pipeline.

“We really now have two deals to service,” Newmyer said. “And I couldn’t do it all from a creative standpoint without someone operating alongside me at a very high level.” Outlaw has never had a president of production.

To date, Outlaw has primarily produced films of comparatively modest budgets. Recent titles include “Addicted to Love,” “The Santa Clause,” and “Don Juan de Marco.” But the company’s profile has been rising on the Warner Bros. lot recently, and the studio is said to be looking to Newmyer and his team to become a larger supplier.

Strauss developed close contacts with several Warners’ production execs during his stint in Kopelson’s company, which was based at the Burbank studio until last year. Now Strauss, who shepherded such Kopelson pics as “U.S. Marshals,” “Eraser” and the upcoming “A Perfect Murder,” will be central to Outlaw’s increasing role in Burbank — particularly in the area of big-budget event movies unfamiliar to Outlaw.

“Scott knows the Warners system,” Newmyer said. “He’s comfortable with them, and they’re comfortable with him.” Strauss will work on all productions, however, including those outside WB.

Strauss said he’d be realizing a lifelong ambition by making the jump from development executive to producer. “My priority is to move Bobby into the upper echelons of producers at Warners,” he said. “There’s a need for new energy there and room for an ambitious company to make a mark there.”

Outlaw’s upcoming WB slate includes:

  • “Three to Tango,” which starts shooting this month, starring Neve Campbell and Matthew Perry;

  • “Gossip,” produced with Joel Schumacher, with television helmer Davis Guggenheim directing in his first feature outing;

  • “Sadness at Leaving,” produced with Steve Reuther’s new WB-based company, Bel Air Entertainment. Richard Gere is attached;

  • “Training Day,” written by David Ayer. Samuel L. Jackson has already been attached to the pic, and Matt Damon is re-portedly in advanced negotiations.

  • “Stage Kiss,” a romantic comedy by Bob Conte and Peter Wortman.

Outlaw’s first film under its Intermedia deal is an action-comedy titled “National Security,” by “Spin City’ sitcom scribes Jay Scherick and David Ronn.

Warners will be offered first crack at domestic distribution rights for all films Outlaw creates under its Intermedia/Fuji deal, Newmyer said. The Intermedia agreement calls for four movies in the $15 – $30 million range.

Prior to his stint at Kopelson, Strauss worked at the Jon Peters Co., where he rose to become director of development.

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