Maverick helmers eye own pic shingle
It sounds like one of those rare alignments of the planets that happens once in a generation.
An as-yet-unnamed film shingle — initiated by David Fincher and pitched by Steven Soderbergh to Barry Diller, looks to be setting up shop at USA Films. The new filmmaker-centric banner would also include directors like Spike Jonze, Alexander Payne and possibly Sam Mendes.
But is such a Dream Team really workable? Already, Mendes seems more out than in, concerned that his allegiance to his legit homebase, the Donmar Warehouse in London, would preclude involvement.
Another helmer, Cameron Crowe, declined to participate, citing financial reasons.
The deal calls for no first-dollar gross participation from the helmers — who might usually command a substantial share of it — but allows the filmmakers to own their films in five to seven years. There are limits on the minimum fees each would take, and which correspond to the budget of a film.
But at a time when a director like John Woo can make $25 million from the backend of “Mission: Impossible 2,” Crowe’s reluctance might be understandable, said a helmer’s rep familiar with the nascent plan.
Other helmers may be approached to join, with one insider noting that the name of Wes Anderson, (“Rushmore”) had been mentioned in secret meetings with the founders.
As to who’ll run the company, several names have been floated, including former UA topper Jeff Kleeman, but insiders now say that the top candidate is in fact someone else — someone they would not name.
Questions also hang about the possibility of international distribbing of the pics, which one source says would likely fall to whichever studio a filmmaker has a pre-existing relationship with.