Amiel pacts with Fox

Helmer inks deal to develop projects, direct pilots

Feature helmer Jon Amiel (“Entrapment”) has signed his first TV overall deal, snaring a pact with 20th Century Fox TV.

Under terms of the one-year deal (with option for a second), Amiel will develop projects, which he’ll then lens, and also direct pilots for the studio.

Amiel developed a relationship with 20th Century Fox TV while directing the pilot of last season’s Fox drama “Reunion,” as well as this season’s pilot “Damages.” He said his experience on “Damages” convinced him to finally agree to sign an overall deal.

“Up to now, I’ve tended to resist the overall deal,” Amiel said. “I always felt that familiarity bred contempt, and that it was better to not be taken for granted as the wife — and instead be desired as the mistress.”

But after working with 20th for two years straight, Amiel said he was wooed by the studio’s execs, whom he called “incredibly harmonious and incredibly creative.”

“I’ve really wanted a home where I could start developing projects rather than just field offers for pilots,” he said. “They were aggressive in terms of coming forward with a very open-handed offer. It was too good to refuse.”

Amiel said the current state of filmmaking — in which the middle class (i.e., the films that aren’t big-budget and aren’t indie) is getting squeezed out — also affected his decision to spend more time in TV.

“The whole middle ground of moviemaking is dead now,” he said. “What’s happened is the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. TV becomes a place where, unlike the cinema, you can celebrate great writing. It’s no coincidence that I, like a number of filmmakers and actors, am moving increasingly into TV.”

Amiel still has several movie projects in development; if any of those come to fruition, his TV deal will roll over to next year.

Next up, Amiel plans to meet with several scribes on 20th Century Fox TV’s deal roster and start kicking around ideas.

“I have a number of ideas I’m going to bring to them,” he said. “I’m also excited by the stable of writers they already have working with them, with whom I’ll be meeting very soon.”

Amiel’s other feature credits include “The Core,” “The Man Who Knew Too Little” and “Sommersby.”

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