While Steve Golin has christened his new management and production venture Anonymous, the company is quickly taking an interesting and definitive shape. Golin formed the new venture last year after exiting Propaganda.
He declined to be interviewed, but sources said the company is already becoming a force in its primary revenue-earning area, commercials and video production. So far, the roster in that area includes helmers David Fincher, Neil LaBute, Gore Verbinski and David Kellogg, who have a long track record with Golin, and are equity partners in the commercials venture which is headed by Dave Morrison. Sheira Rees-Davies is heading the musicvid division. Much like he did at Propaganda, Golin will use those divisions to develop feature directors, even though the top commercials guys like Kellogg take pay cuts to do films.
Golin and his COO Jim Tauber are also moving quickly in the management and film production departments. They have brought in as managers former Propaganda manager Scott Bankston, former UTA agent David Kanter, former Writers & Artists agent Larry Kennar, former 3 Arts manager Raelle Koota, and former William Morris agents Rachel Shapiro and Christian Donatelli.
While the client list is still crystallizing, it includes helmers Tony Goldwyn, Antoine Fuqua (“Bait”), Ron Underwood (“Pluto Nash”), Reggie Hudlin, and Christopher Renshaw, the Tony-winning director of “The King & I.” Scribes include Steve Gaghan (“Traffic”), Tim Metcalf and Adam Simon (“Kalifornia”), and Ed Neumeier (“Starship Troopers”), and the actor list includes Aaron Eckhart, Omar Epps, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Kristen Johnson, Maura Tierney and Tiffani Thiessen.
Golin, who recently sealed a first look film deal at USA Films, is bringing in Alix Madigan to steer film production. Her producing credits include “Your Friends & Neighbors” and the Sundance fave “Sunday.”
The film projects will be comparable to Golin’s recent productions, which include “Being John Malkovich,” and the upcoming Neil LaBute-directed USA Films comedy “Nurse Betty,” and The Don Roos-directed “Bounce” at Miramax. The next steps will be to hatch divisions in new media and television. As the activity increases, it will be difficult for Golin’s new venture to be compatable with the company moniker he’s chosen.
LABUTE TAKES “DANISH GIRL”: Fresh from the black comedy “Nurse Betty,” Neil LaBute and producer Gail Mutrux have made a deal to adapt “The Danish Girl,” a book by David Ebershoff based on a Danish artist named Einar Wegener, who in 1931 became the first man to undergo a sex change operation.
LaBute and Mutrux will look to set up the project with a backer, with LaBute planning to write the script and direct the movie. The film is a decided departure from his past films “In the Company of Men” and “Your Friends & Neighbors.” In his book, Ebershoff invents a complicated love story between a married couple. Wegener’s life becomes complicated when his artist wife asks him to don a dress and wig to sit for a portait on a day when the model didn’t show up and she was on a deadline to finish the portait. She inadvertently awakens something in her husband, who finds he likes being a woman. They establish an alter ego for his transformed persona, Lili, whom the woman uses for portraits. “She has set all this in motion and encouraged her husband to do what makes him happy, but only at a certain point does she realize she’s going to lose her husband as a result,” said Mut-rux. “It’s period Copenhagen and Paris, and it has more the tone of ‘Cabaret’ than something like ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ or ‘The Crying Game,’ because those movies were about people hiding their sexual identities. This is different. This is about a marriage that becomes doomed.”
Mutrux expects LaBute to take another directing project while he works on the adaptation. He’ll possibly direct it as the film following that next assignment. “When you mention the transsexual aspect, peoples eyes do tend to glaze over, but it’s so much more than that,” said
Mutrux. “We are both very excited by it.” Published last month by Viking, “The Danish Girl” has been drawing critical raves, and just climbed to third position on the L.A. Times bestseller list. The book is being repped by Wm. Morris’s Bill Contardi, who’s working with lit agent Elaine Koster.
LaBute is agented by Brad Gross of Sanford, Gross.
ANOTHER “BEAUTY?”: If the “American Beauty” Oscar hardware haul opens things up for edgy, low-cost black comedies, then the makers of “Mini’s First Time” have chosen a good time to hit the marketplace. Mena Suvari, who played the “American Beauty” temptress who prodded Lester Burnham’s fatal self discovery mission, has become attached to play the lead role of a worldly 18-year old with a penchant for using her feminine wiles to wrap men around her little finger. That list grows to include her stepfather, which leads to a plan to eliminate her troublesome mom.
The comedy had been used as a writing sample for Nick Guthe, and while execs were knocked out by the script, they used it as the basis to hire him for other jobs. Armed with Suvari’s enlistment, he’ll now get the chance to make his directing debut, thanks to Panoptic Pictures partners Jeff Davidson and Ron Wechsler, who’ll look this week to set up the under-$10 million film with a specialty distributor. The film, they hope, will share the hip, irreverent tone of “American Beauty” and “The Opposite Of Sex.” Both Suvari and Guthe are repped by UTA.
CLUED IN TO NEW AGE GROUP: Todd Kessler, the cocreator and exec producer of the popular Emmy-nommed half-pint program “Blue’s Clues,” has made his first feature deal. Kessler’s set up at Miramax “Keith,” a feature adaptation of a short story by Ron Carlson, which will be turned into a feature for the teen set by his No Hands Productions. The pic is about two high schoolers, boy and girl, who in chemistry class find they have chemistry together, even if they don’t actually go on a date. Kessler, whose other kiddie program credits include “Sesame Street” and “Eureeka’s Castle,” will look for a writer for the fea-ture. He will continue steering “Blue’s Clues,” which is the top-rated kid program, but will also look to set up another Carlson-penned teen-driven short story as a feature, this one entitled “Evil Eye Allen.” It’s about two high schoolers with a very unusual magic show.
Kessler’s repped by Tracy Kramer at Toltek Artists. Miramax’s Steve Hutensky negotiated the deal and Michelle Sy and Jill Messick will steer the project.