Par’s new ‘Passion’ for Lakeshore

Specialized division enters fray with Moore pic

Paramount’s three-month-old specialized division has made a splashy entry into feature co-production with Lakeshore Entertainment’s Demi Moore-starrer “Passion of Mind.”

The unnamed subsid, headed by Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein, reportedly will co-finance and handle domestic distribution on the pic. It’s the first go project for the recently-formed specialty arm.

Lakeshore is to handle foreign sales on “Passion,” which will be directed by “Ma Vie en Rose” helmer Alain Berliner based on “Rain Man” scribe Ron Bass’ original screenplay.

Moore plays a woman whose life appears to alternate between two parallel existences. In one, she is a widowed American mother of two living in the South of France; in the other, she’s a single successful Gotham book editor.

Neither Vitale nor Dinerstein could be reached for comment.

Paramount announced the formation of the autonomous niche division in March. Following a year-long executive search, Vitale, formerly president of Fine Line, and Dinerstein, formerly senior VP at Fox Searchlight, were named as co-presidents of the arthouse arm which is headquartered at Paramount’s Melrose Ave lot.

Lakeshore, which is also based at Par, has an output deal with the studio for projects budgeted at more than $10 million.

Lakeshore is currently in talks with Interscope to produce the romantic comedy “Runaway Bride” for Par. The project, which has been in development for some time, has sparked interest from a number of thesps over the years, including Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock, Geena Davis, John Travolta, Kelly Preston and Ben Affleck.

Lakeshore is currently in talks with Tea Leoni to star in the film about a woman who has been to the altar three times but ran away each time, unable to make a commitment. She eventually falls for a newspaper reporter assigned to write a story about her.