Douglas, U pact for first-look

Vet actor inks three-year deal

Michael Douglas, who recently parted producing ways with Steve Reuther, has inked his own first-look, three-year production deal at Universal Pictures, the studio confirmed Thursday.

Douglas will start from scratch at the studio, leaving behind all the projects developed under Douglas/Reuther. His deal was described as a “straightforward first-look pact,” which will not include a discretionary fund.

Douglas, who last starred in “The Game” for Polygram, said he was eager to reunite with his former CAA agent Ron Meyer, now president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios.

John Schimmel, former senior VP of production for Douglas/Reuther, will join Douglas as a production exec. It was unclear whether Douglas would seek out projects to topline or simply to produce.

U prexy of production Marc Platt said he’s hoping Douglas will do both. “One of the great attributes of Michael is his versatility, both as an actor and as a producer,” Platt said. “Our hope is that we can take advantage of that versatility with projects in which he can act as well as those that he can produce.”

Douglas never worked with Platt or Stacey Snider, co-prexy of production at U, on a particular project. Both got to know the thesp when they were running TriStar Pictures over the past three years.

In a statement, Douglas said: “I am very impressed with what Marc Platt and Stacey Snider were able to accomplish while they were at TriStar Pictures. Their record speaks for itself.”

Universal chairman Casey Silver, using the deal to point out U’s desire to bring top creative talent to the studio, said Douglas’s reputations for finding “classy and highly commercial projects” is well known.

Douglas/Reuther last produced “Rainmaker,” “Face/Off” and “The Ghost and the Darkness.”

On his own early in his production career, Douglas produced the Oscar-winning “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Christopher Lloyd and Danny DeVito; “The China Syndrome” and “Romancing the Stone.”

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