'Aviator' producer signs 2-year pact with WB

Graham King, producer of “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York,” has signed a two-year first-look deal at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Under the arrangement, King’s Initial Entertainment Group will shift its deals with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and with Infinitum Nihil to Warners.

Upcoming, King will produce “The Departed” for Martin Scorsese and the Johnny Depp vehicle “Shantaram” with Plan B and Depp’s Infinitum Nihil.

Nicole Kidman’s Blueprint Films signed a three-year first-look deal with IEG in January, but has not yet exercised the option to have the deal moved to the studio.

King is also selling select territories on “The Departed,” repping the U.K., France, Italy and Russia.

Initial will continue to operate as a foreign sales company for projects that King does not produce. King and partner Colin Cotter will continue ownership of Initial, with King serving as President and CEO and Cotter as COO.

King plans to add production staff to his company, but will maintain the same offices in Santa Monica’s Lantana complex.

Principal photography begins April 18 on “The Departed” on locations in Boston and New York. King produces with Brad Pitt for Plan B, and executive producers Doug Davison, Roy Lee, Gianni Nunnari and G. Mac Brown. “The Departed” stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and Vera Farmiga, with VP production Dan Lin supervising for Warners.

“Shantaram” is a drama about an escaped convict who tries to disappear in Bombay. Gregory David Roberts is adapting the screenplay from his own novel, which Warners purchased outright for $2 million last October. Executive VP Kevin McCormick oversees development and production for the studio.

Said Warners production president Jeff Robinov, “Graham’s passion for making movies, his great taste in material and his outstanding relationships with filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and actors like Johnny and Leo is a tremendous asset to us.”

King established Initial in 1995. The company’s credits include Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning “Traffic” and Michael Mann’s “Ali” as well as the Martin Scorsese pics “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator.”

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