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Circle squares deal

Shingle inks two-year pact with Columbia

Management/production company Circle of Confusion has inked a two-year first look deal at Columbia Pictures.

COC, which is run by Gotham-based manager-producer Lawrence Mattis, has just established a West Coast office in Culver City; Mattis has hired David Alpert, David Engel and Jason Lust to run it.

Mattis and Circle of Confusion are best known for managing writers, most notably “The Matrix” creators Larry and Andy Wachowski. Clients also include “Reign of Fire” scribes Gregg Chabot and Kevin Peterka, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard (“The Great Raid”), Simon Kinberg (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”), Tony Jaswinski (“Westward”) and Heidi Ferrer (“Dawson’s Creek”). COC also reps Brian Michael Bendis, writer of the comic “Ultimate Spider-Man,” who’ll be running an MTV animated spinoff show. Bendis is among a stable of comicbook and videogame creators and publishers that gives COC control of a library of over 120 comic titles they’ll mine under the new deal.

As a production entity, Circle of Confusion has several projects in development, including “Bounty,” with Laura Bickford Prods. and Universal; “Fate of the Blade,” with Eagle Cove; “Mini’s First Time,” with RKO Pictures; and the Columbia-based “Extinction,” a sci-fi action thriller originated in a pitch by clients Chris Leone and Laura Harkcom.

Deal was made by Col production prexy Peter Schlessel, who said, “We are eager to work with their lineup of writers and directors as we move forward with our future slates.”

Mattis said the Col relationship began with conversations that he and studio topper Amy Pascal had when trying to get the Wachowskis to direct “Spider-Man” before Sam Raimi was set. “I asked her to wait five years until ‘Matrix’ was done, but she wouldn’t,” he said, adding that the Wachowskis aren’t tied to his Col deal.

“The idea was to have a first-look deal at new material generated by our other screenwriter clients and the ability to tap into that library of comic titles looking for the next ‘Men in Black,’ ” said Mattis, who is based in Forest Hills, Queens, with associate managers David Mattis and Trisha Smith.

Alpert previously ran the Web sites 4filmmakers.com and Castmaker.com and was an independent manager. Engel is the former director of development for producer Mace Neufeld who worked on the graphic novel adaptation “Powers” and the Fox TV drama “Harsh Realm.” Lust was a production exec at Handprint Entertainment.

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