NEW YORK — Scott Free president/CEO Chris Zarpas is stepping down from his post, in what he characterized as a mutual decision made with Scott Free partners Ridley and Tony Scott.
Zarpas, who ran Scott Free for four years, will make the transition to producer; he will hang out his own shingle and continue as producer on some screen and TV development projects hatched during his tenure at Scott Free. He will remain associated with Scott Free until the production company’s deal with Universal ends in October. The Scotts aren’t expected to replace Zarpas.
“Ridley and Tony’s approach and personal style is one of restraint, caution and subtlety, and I’m about as subtle as a sawed off shotgun,” said Zarpas, who acknowledged there were some creative skirmishes with the brother directors. “Tony and I sat down over a bottle of wine and a couple of cigars and decided to part ways when the Scott Free contract with Universal ends. For me, it’s a very amicable and friendly split.”
Tony Scott cited “differing styles” as one reason for the change, but added that Zarpas wanted to work hands-on as a producer, a difficult task, while running day-to-day operations of a production company.
Zarpas served as producer or exec producer on such Scott Free productions as “G.I. Jane,” “Clay Pigeons,” and “Where The Money Is,” the Marek Kanievska-directed drama starring Paul Newman, Linda Fiorentino, and Dermot Mulroney now in post-production. “Money” will be distributed by the newly configured October Films banner bought by Barry Diller.
He is also exec producer of “RKO 281” for HBO.
Zarpas began as an usher in the Circle Theaters chain and eventually graduated to an assistant buyer and senior veep and sales manager when Circle went into the distribution business with the Coen brothers’s debut film, “Blood Simple.” After a stint as vice president at Disney, he became co-president of Island Pictures before moving to the prexy post at Scott Free.