Krauss named exec VP production

Cathy Schulman has made her first hires and promotions as president of Mandalay Pictures and Mandalay Independent Pictures.

From Columbia Pictures comes Jonathan Krauss, taking the newly created position of executive VP, production and development. Scarlett Lacey joins from Robert Cort Prods. as senior VP, production and development. Both will report directly to Schulman and be involved with features in development at Universal and Focus Features, where the company has a first-look production deal.

“I think they’re both extremely talented, unique, confident executives that are ready to make pictures that are self-distinguishing and that stand out from the crowd, which is what my whole agenda is,” Schulman told Daily Variety.

Also Adam Stone was upped to director of development. He joined Mandalay a year ago from a position with Industry Entertainment. Longtime Mandalay production executive David Zelon will continue to serve as executive VP, production.

Mandalay has also enlisted Marcy Drogin as a creative consultant, based in New York. Drogin, who served as a top production executive at Michael Douglas’ Furthur Films from 1998-2006, will facilitate material acquisitions and talent relationships coming out of the East Coast.

A highlight of the Mandalay Pictures’ slate at Universal is the remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” scheduled to be in production by early fall.

“We think we have a very contemporary take,” Schulman said. “In the original, the birds just showed up, and it was kind of like, why are the birds here? This time, there’s a reason why they’re here and (people) have had something to do with it. There’s an environmental slant to what could create nature fighting back.”

Mandalay Independent has also assembled several projects with Focus Features including “The Piano Tuner,” based on Daniel Mason’s bestselling novel, and “Evolutions’ Captain,” a sea-faring adventure based on the journeys of Charles Darwin and his mate Captain John Fitzroy.

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