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Attanasio duo ink Par pact

Heel & Toe walking to studio lot

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Attanasio and producer Katie Jacobs have inked a two-year, first-look deal for their Heel & Toe Films to develop and produce features for Paramount Pictures.

Under the deal, Attanasio will write and hopes to direct projects developed under the newly formed banner.

Paramount will provide overhead for Heel & Toe, which will be located on the Par lot. Jacobs and Attanasio said they will immediately begin hiring staff, including a vice president of development.

Writers’ haven

The duo are married, but their only professional collaboration to date has been developing “The Great Unknown,” a project Attanasio wrote and is attached to direct. Jacobs said they’ve been talking about starting a company for a long time, one that would “create the environment for the writer to succeed.”

“We thought there was a tremendous opportunity to start a company that begins with writers, nurtures writers (and) talks their language,” said Jacobs, “and Paramount was the perfect place to do it.”

Highlighting their desire to produce writer-driven projects, Attanasio said, “You meet so many new writers who walk around like the undead. Even young writers — they’ve suffered from so much contempt, neglect and bad advice that they’ve lost faith in themselves and what was original and true in their voice. I don’t believe it has to be that way for anyone.”

From critic to scribe

Attanasio, a former film critic with the Washington Post, first gained attention after penning the pilot for the NBC drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” the gritty cop show produced by Barry Levinson.

Levinson later hired Attanasio to write “Disclosure,” the thriller based on Michael Crichton’s bestseller. Attanasio then penned the critically acclaimed “Quiz Show” for director Robert Redford. For his work on “Quiz Show,” Attanasio received his first Academy Award nomination and a second WGA nom.

Most recently, he wrote the screenplay for “Donnie Brasco,” which earned him his second Oscar nomination and a third WGA nom.

Jacobs recently ended a two-year production partnership with Gail Mutrux at Fox 2000. During that time the duo produced the upcoming “Cool, Dry Place,” starring Vince Vaughn.

Previously, Jacobs had been partnered with Pierce Gardner in a deal at Fox. Her production credits include the comedies “Getting Even with Dad” and “Fatal Instinct” for MGM; and Alan J. Pakula’s thriller “Consenting Adults” for Disney.

CAA brokered the deal on Attanasio and Jacobs’ behalf.