Ellis tapped sr. VP

Beacon jumps over 'Moon'

Beacon Pictures has upped Suzann Ellis to senior veep, development and production, and also optioned the rights to Homer H. Hickman Jr’s novel “Back to the Moon.”

Ellis, who started as an assistant for Beacon founder and chairman Armyan Bernstein and has been promoted several times since, co-produced the soon-to-be released “The Hurricane,” starring Denzel Washington. She also produced Dreamworks’ upcoming “Galaxy Guest,” starring Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver.

Said Bernstein: “Suzann is the rarest of the rare. She embodies extraordinary intelligence, great taste, class and dignity, while being an all around great person.”

Ellis is overseeing “Back to the Moon,” which producer Rudy Langlais is developing with Beacon. Pic is the story of a disgraced NASA engineer who “borrows” the space shuttle Columbia and one terrified passenger for a secret mission to the moon. His success will determine the fate of mankind.

Beacon, which has a first-look deal with Universal, recently produced “For Love of the Game,” starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston, and the soon-to-be released “End of Days” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Byrne.

Next year, Beacon’s release slate includes “Family Man,” starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Brett Ratner; “Cheer Fever,” starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Payton Reed (which recently completed principal photography); and “Thirteen Days,” starring Kevin Costner and helmed by Roger Donaldson (currently shooting).