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Whitaker, Propaganda pact

'Waiting to Exhale' helmer inks three-year first-look deal

Actor-director Forest Whitaker has signed a three-year, first-look deal with Propaganda Films, a unit of Polygram Filmed Entertainment.

The deal calls for Whitaker — director of the 1995 20th Century Fox sleeper hit “Waiting to Exhale” — to helm one of his next three films for Propaganda.

According to chairman Steve Golin, Propaganda will submit existing development projects to Whitaker and buy pitches and scripts for him.

“The intention is for us to do as much business with Forest as we can,” said Golin, emphasizing that this is a “filmmaker-driven deal” that does not require Whitaker to make a fixed number of pictures.

Whitaker will also produce under the deal, and Propaganda will contribute towards the overhead costs of his Spirit Dance outfit.

Whitaker cut his teeth directing the Cheryl “Pepsi” Riley musicvid “Thanks for my Child” at Propaganda. The company has introduced a number of music and blurb helmers to the world of features, including Dominic Sena (“Kalifornia”) and David Fincher (“Seven”).

Propaganda’s talent deals include pacts with Fincher, Jane Campion (“The Piano”) and actor Jason Patric’s Fleece Films.

The company, whose credits include “The Game,” this year is releasing a remake of “Force Majeure” starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche; and the drama “Your Friends and Neighbors,” directed by Neil LaBute (“In the Company of Men”) and starring Patric.

Whitaker’s directorial debut was the HBO telepic “Strapped.” He also helmed “Hope Floats,” starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr., which Fox will release in the U.S. on May 29.

William Morris Agency and attorneys Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer and Klein repped Whitaker; exec VP Paul Green negotiated for Propaganda.

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