Firefly Pictures inks deal with Groundswell Prods.

Groundswell Prods. has signed a first-look production deal with David Rubin’s Firefly Pictures.

Groundswell and Firefly are in post-production on their first collaboration, Todd Louiso’s “The Marc Pease Experience,” starring Jason Schwartzman as a onetime high school musical star and Ben Stiller as his former drama coach. Paramount Vantage co-financed the black comedy, set for release next year.

Rubin’s experience as a casting director and producer has given him “impeccable creative and managerial instincts,” said Groundswell CEO and founder Michael London.

After developing “The Marc Pease Experience” with writers Louiso and Jacob Koskoff, Rubin brought the script to London and Groundswell prexy Bruna Papandrea, whom Rubin met when they both worked at Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella’s Mirage Enterprises. After five years producing at Mirage, Rubin established Firefly Pictures and Firefly Casting, which recently cast “Hairspray.” Rubin’s producing credits include “Igby Goes Down,” “Lawn Dogs” and “Blow Dry.”

Rubin praised Groundswell’s London and Papandrea for their “strong talent relationships and exquisite taste in material.”

Firefly Pictures projects in pre-production include “Kicked, Bitten and Scratched,” a romantic comedy starring Naomi Watts; another Koskoff/Louiso screenplay, which is set up at Infinity Media; an adaptation of David Rabe’s “A Question of Mercy,” with director Rodrigo Garcia and Meryl Streep attached; and a film version of Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along,” adapted by Rob Festinger (“In the Bedroom”).

Founded in February 2006, Groundswell has completed production on upcoming releases “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” writer-director Rawson Marshall Miller’s adaptation of the Michael Chabon novel, starring Sienna Miller, Peter Sarsgard and Nick Nolte; “Smart People,” directed by Noam Murro and starring Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church and Sarah Jessica Parker; and Tom McCarthy’s “The Visitor,” a co-production with Participant Prods. that stars Richard Jenkins.

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