In another attempt to jump-start its original feature production efforts, special f/x house Digital Domain has tapped Fox 2000 creative exec Kevin K. Cooper as veep of feature development.
Cooper replaces Cari Thomas, who ankled the position at the Venice, Calif.-based f/x house in June to join rival Sony Pictures Imageworks.
Digital Domain hired Thomas in March to oversee the development of a slate of 13 original inhouse pics, with “A Thousand Cranes,” an epic love story set in Japan against the last days of World War II, as the first project to go before the camera.
F/x houses have recently shown interest in venturing into producing their own pics, but none has yet to lense.
Digital Domain is in final negotiations with a Japanese investment group to fund 30% of the roughly $70 million production budget for “Cranes.”
Cooper will take over Thomas’ efforts, developing the project, as well as other scripts and license properties, among other duties. Initially, he will oversee a three-member team that includes creative exec Ian Unterreiner and a department assistant/script reader, also coming from Fox 2000.
Cooper will report to Digital Domain CEO and prexy Scott Ross when he starts the post in early October.
“While I’m saddened to be leaving Fox 2000, Scott Ross has given me a fantastic opportunity to lead Digital Domain’s move into feature production,” Cooper said. “It’s a great place to be part of the future of filmmaking.”
At Fox 2000, Cooper developed several projects including “Navy Diver,” starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Before that, Cooper was director of development at Bay Films, where he helped develop “Armageddon” for helmer Michael Bay.
“Kevin brings with him a great combination of studio and independent experience,” Ross said. “… We look forward to expanding our development slate under Kevin’s direction as we move closer to our first feature production.”
Digital Domain created f/x for “Titanic,” “Apollo 13” this summer’s “Lake Placid” and the upcoming “Fight Club.” It is prepping for U’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”