Ross, Sindell team at U

Form Larger than Life Prods, grab three-year deal

Writer-director Gary Ross (“Dave,” “Big”) and former CAA agent Jane Sindell have formed the optimistically titled production banner Larger Than Life Prods. with a three-year, first-look deal at Universal.

Under the pact, and in addition to the films Larger Than Life will develop to produce, Ross will write and direct at least one film during the deal’s term.

According to Ross, the company, which soon will move into offices on the Universal City lot, intends to hire at least two development execs to round out its staff.

Ross, whose first feature screenwriting credit was “Big,” which he also co-produced, had been Sindell’s longtime client until last November when she ankled CAA after 11 years at the percentery.

Earlier this year, the duo were reported to be teaming on a production banner (Daily Variety, April 14), but at the time it was not clear where they might hang their shingle.

Ross, who also wrote “Dave” and produced the 1997 comedy “Trial and Error,” makes his directorial debut with New Line’s upcoming fantasy/drama “Pleasantville,” which he also wrote and produced.

Although his relationship with the studio stems back to a previous housekeeping deal he had with Universal before he left to take on “Pleasantville,” Ross credits New Line-turned-Universal exec Mary Parent for his decision to sign with U.

“This is a studio where both Jane and I have good relationships, a place both of us feel comfortable,” Ross told Daily Variety. “But for me it all comes down to my relationship with Mary. That’s the reason I’m at Universal.”

Parent, who joined U last August, brought “Pleasantville” into New Line and oversaw the film’s production. She also receives an executive producer credit on the Oct. 23 release.

Sindell’s ties with U include prexy/chief operating officer Ron Meyer, whom she worked for when he was president of CAA.

“I’ve worked with Gary for so long that this feels like the most natural thing in the world,” said Sindell. “I’ve also been close to so many people at Universal. Casey Silver and I began our careers together and, of course, working again with Ron Meyer is terrific.”

Ross and Sindell were represented on their deal by CAA and attorney Alan Wertheimer of Armstrong, Hirsch.