Shingle reshaping itself with new hires, projects
With two pics already in production — “The Amityville Horror” remake at MGM and “Zathura” at Columbia Pictures — Radar Pictures’ slate is continuing to heat up with an eclectic slew of projects attached to top names such as Robert Redford.The shingle is also reshaping itself with hires that include creative execs Mike Weber and Davida Heller, director of creative affairs Jennifer Worley and director of legal and business affairs Jason Cosgrove. They join exec vice presidents Joe Rosenberg and David Boyle. “I interviewed, personally, about 10 people to settle on these four,” Radar founder Ted Field said. “We have a terrific young team now, and I’m excited about having so much young energy in the company. Already the results are beginning to show, as many of our new projects were brought in by these execs.” Field’s instinct has served him well over the years. The music-mogul-turned-movie-producer and Marshall Field heir was initially dubbed a dilettante by Hollywood, but over the last two decades has proved his staying power with hit films ranging from “Three Men and a Baby” to “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” to “The Last Samurai.” His Hollywood record supplements his fame in the music biz as a co-founder of Interscope Records, the label that brought rap to the suburbs. Also, in a deal similar to Radar’s Platinum Dunes partnership with Michael Bay, the shingle recently teamed up with comedy scribe Scot Armstrong (“Old School,” “Starsky & Hutch”) to make modestly budgeted comedies, which Armstrong will produce with Radar. The first two pics under the deal are “Jeff the Demon,” written by Joe Ventura and Tom Scharpling, and the untitled Amnesia Project, by Jason Mantzoukas and Brian Huskey. Radar’s interest in comedy harks back to Field’s early days working on such 1980s comedies as “Revenge of the Nerds,” which he produced, and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” which he exec produced. Development-wise at Radar, Robert Redford is attached to star in and potentially direct “The Brutus Complex,” the political thriller by Ari Rubin, whose father Bruce Joel Rubin is producing along with Redford’s Wildwood shingle and Radar. Surf apparel giant Quiksilver is partnering with Radar on “In Search of Captain Zero,” an adaptation by Michael Bacall of Allan C. Weisbecker’s surf memoir, which Stacy Peralta (“Riding Giants”) is directing and Sean Penn is starring in and producing with Agi Orsi and Radar. Quiksilver exec Danny Kwock and Quiksilver Entertainment exec Matt Jacobson are overseeing the pic for Quiksilver. Book projects include “The Plumber,” a true story about a blue-collar plumber who risks his life and loved ones to take down the Philadelphia mob, which Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson’s protege Wesley Wittkamper are adapting from the book by Rivele and Joe Salerno; and “The Know-It-All,” about A.J. Jacobs’ real-life journey reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (Daily Variety, Sept. 10). Radar is also planning a remake of “Wait Until Dark” at Warner Bros. Attica Locke will write the contemporary version of the 1967 Audrey Hepburn classic about a blind woman who finds in her luggage a mysterious doll that proves to be much more than just a toy. Mike Menchel’s Relevant Entertainment is producing with Radar. “I think our slate is very balanced,” Field said, “and we’re still looking for new projects as well.” Field added that TV is also on Radar’s horizon. “We’re gingerly trying to enter the TV business,” he said. “There’s one reality show we’re out selling now, ‘Spare Change,’ and one series was brought in by Mike Weber, about a hospital ship. It’s a true situation.” And it was announced at the Toronto Film Festival that Radar’s inked a joint venture with Canuck CG effects company Core Digital Pictures to co-produce animated, computer-generated and live-action features for kids.