Rice rises to Fox senior VP

NEW YORK — Peter Rice has reupped at 20th Century Fox, rising in the ranks from vice president to senior VP. His new deal was made by Fox president Tom Rothman.

The move ends speculation that Rice might be moving elsewhere. After shepherding Baz Luhrmann’s surprise hit “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet,” the Danny Boyle film “A Life Less Ordinary,” the Jean Pierre Jeunet-directed “Alien Resurrection,” the Richard Linklater film “The Newton Boys” and Dean Semler’s “Firestorm,” Rice was courted by several studios wanting to capitalize on his ability to work with cutting-edge filmmakers. Rothman moved to keep him in the Fox fold.

“Peter’s proven himself a superbly talented executive and he has some of the best relationships with young talent in the business and a unique ability to find and package movies around them,” Rothman said.

Luhrmann, who has an exclusive deal at Fox, called Rice the prime reason he’s in business with the studio.

“When movies work, a lot of people take credit for them, but the credit on ‘Romeo & Juliet’ goes to Peter,” Luhrmann said. “He has a unique talent for being able to interface with people outside the studio system, and getting them to work within that system.”

Rice has been at Fox seven years, arriving straight from England with a degree in critical theory and film literature from the U. of Nottingham. He’s currently working on “X-Men,” with director Bryan Singer; “Planet of the Apes,” with James Cameron; and Luhrmann’s next film, an untitled work he is writing. He’s also the point man for director Ang Lee and Good Machine.

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