Paramount Pictures has staked Double Features partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher to a three-year, first-look production deal.
Pact comes after the studio wrapped three projects produced by the duo: the Oliver Stone-directed “World Trade Center,” which will be distributed Aug. 9; “Freedom Writers,” the Richard LaGravanese-directed drama that stars Hilary Swank, which will be released Jan. 12; and “Reno 911: Miami.” Paramount partners with 20th Century Fox on “Reno,” which is based on the Comedy Central series on which Shamberg and Sher are exec producers. Fox distributes domestically next year.
Shamberg and Sher, who formed Double Feature after splitting with longtime Jersey Films partner Danny DeVito, start their Par deal in July, when their current Universal first-look deal expires. The producers will remain in their Wilshire Blvd. offices.
“Both ‘World Trade Center’ and ‘Freedom Writers’ were passion projects, and subjects that were really important to us and Paramount stepped up quickly to make them,” Sher said. Added Shamberg: “The new administration there realizes they’ve got to take chances to create hit movies, and that is what we’ve always tried to do.”
Shamberg and Sher, who with DeVito produced such films as “Erin Brockovich” and “Pulp Fiction,” remain committed to a number of projects they set up at Sony and Universal.
At U, they’re producing an untitled hip-hop-themed musical vehicle for Outkast member Andre Benjamin, which is being written by Jeff Whitty, the Tony-winning playwright of “Avenue Q”; the Gustin Nash-scripted romantic comedy “Missed Connections,” which has Harold Ramis attached to direct; an adaptation of the Bing and Owen West-penned book “No True Glory,” which has Harrison Ford attached; and “Face,” an erotic thriller vehicle for Demi Moore that is being written by “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy.
At Sony, Double Feature is producing an untitled drama based on John Crowley, a father who raised venture capital to start a drug company. Shamberg and Sher are also partnered with Erwin Stoff to produce for Sony “Chef,” a romantic comedy vehicle for Keanu Reeves that is based on Reeves’ idea. He’ll play an American chef who heads to London.