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Inside Move: Wells nourishes Killer agenda

Co. churns out 'Angry Itch,' 'Grey Zone'

NEW YORK — Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler are watching “ER” a lot. At least, they should be.

The Killer Films duo have six films either headed for release or in post-production. And the pair, which produced “Kids,” “Velvet Goldmine” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” credit WGA prexy and “ER” exec producer John Wells for their good fortune.

Wells took Killer off of its MGM first-look hook a year ago with the promise to back overhead and development to the tune of just under $1 million.

And the move has paid off: Killer brought “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Series 7” to Sundance. It also has Todd Solondz’s new pic coming out from Fine Line, Tim Blake Nelson’s “The Grey Zone,” Mark Romanek’s Robin Williams starrer “One Hour Photo” and “The Safety of Objects.”

“Since we started with Wells, our company has been alarmingly prolific,” Vachon said. “We’re not hampered by a studio that will probably make a very small percentage (off ) of our movies, (and) will tie them up for a long time.”

Wells, who said he started in showbiz by producing a low-budget film called “Nice Girls Don’t Explode,” has long wanted to get back into independent film.

In addition to Killer, Wells has moved into indie production with Nick Nolte in “Double Down,” directed by Neil Jordan, and “White Oleander” with Michelle Pfeiffer in final talks for the lead. He also has an overall deal with director Mimi Leder and nearly 20 projects in development.

“I do think it’s important for people who have reached my position to take a lot more chances,” Wells said. “That’s the only way you’re going to stay interested and interesting.”

Wells, prexy of the Writers Guild of America West, is currently embroiled in closed-door talks with the studios over the guild’s new contract. The current three-year WGA contract expires May 2.

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