Signals show that studio striving for hipper fare
Almost three months into the Brad Grey era, signs began emerging of the stamp new prexy Gail Berman is looking to put on the studio.
But apart from an active buying spree — most recently landing ex-journo Michael Finkel‘s “True Story,” set up with Brad Pitt‘s Plan B — actual greenlights have amounted to just one so far: “Babel,” starring Pitt and Cate Blanchett.
Still, a strong signal emerged May 19 that the studio — for many years, the town’s most cautious — is striving for hipper fare.
In the first deal since uber-producer Scott Rudin departed for Disney, indie vet Jason Blum — who produced the Emmy-nommed “Hysterical Blindness” — signed a first-look producing pact with the studio.
Berman, who carries a reputation for decisiveness, indicates she’ll continue to move quickly. “I’m not a big equivocator,” she notes.
Berman says she wants to take a “Breakfast Club” approach to signings, implying she’s looking to make deals for a variety of producers and projects.
Indeed, the recent naming of former Warner Bros. chief Bob Daly as an adviser was taken as a sign that Par wants to expand its tentpole biz.
By all accounts, Berman’s first few days at Par as the new prexy went smoothly as she settled in to the office formerly occupied by Donald De Line.
The former Fox Entertainment prexy impressed her new charges in the initial round of meetings — starting with the “weekend read” confab — with a work ethic.
“What’s clearly evident is that she’s working very hard and expects everyone around her to do the same,” one producer says.