Oz deal in limelight

Frank Oz, longtime collaborator with Jim Henson and director of such pix as “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Housesitter,” has inked a two-year deal to direct commercials exclusively through Limelight Entertainment, the filmmaker said Thursday.

Oz, speaking from a Raleigh Studios soundstage where he is working on an undisclosed Limelight commercial for the advertising agency Chiat/Day, said the signing “diversifies me a bit.”

“I’ve been trying to find a movie that I want to do, but have been unable to find one,” Oz said. “This allows me to still be on the soundstage floor, and have a bit of fun.”

Oz has been pursued by a number of studios since the release of “Housesitter, ” but the director has opted to sit on the sidelines instead.

A leading musicvideo and commercial company, Hollywood-based Limelight has been aggressively recruiting and developing directors capable of swinging between movies and commercials.

Company founder Steve Barron directed “The Coneheads” and the first “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” while Limelight commercial directors Rupert Wainwright (“Blank Check”), Peter McDonald (“Mo’ Money”) and Russell Mulcahy (“The Real McCoy” and numerous early Duran Duran videos) have all switched between commercials and the big screen.

Limelight co-exec producer Cindy Atkins was key in the signing of Oz.

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