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Newmarket, BV sign up Woo, Chang

Duo producing 'Long Hello'

CANNES — Newmarket Capital Group and Buena Vista Film Sales have pacted with filmmakers John Woo and Terence Chang to make action pics budgeted under $20 million.

Under the two-year deal, Woo and Chang will produce an unspecified number of titles through their Sony-based Lion Rock Prods. for Newmarket and BV Film Sales.

Newmarket will finance the pics, and Buena Vista Film Sales, Disney’s foreign sales arm, will handle international distribution.

Helming uncertain

The deal is primarily for Woo and Chang to produce; it’s undetermined if Woo will ever direct a pic under it.

The pact’s first project will be “The Long Hello and Short Goodbye,” from a script by Jeff Vintar. Pic is about an ex-con safecracker who is dogged by the cop who put him away.

Woo and Chang are looking for a director for “Long Hello.”

“I’m very excited by this deal,” Chang told Daily Variety. “It’s something that (John and I) have always wanted to do. We’re going to make cutting-edge, commercial films using new writers, directors and actors.”

According to Chang, the Newmarket/BV deal will enable Lion Rock to engage in a certain amount of development on the pics. “But this is a deal to make movies,” he emphasized.

Will Tyrer, who heads Newmarket with Chris Ball, said he hopes that Lion Rock will make two or three pics each year. Newmarket has similar production alliances with Neal Moritz’s Original Films and Mutual Film Co.

“We want to be financial partners with producing entities, allowing them to be creative,” Tyrer said. “We’re very excited to be in business with Terence and John. They represent exactly the caliber of filmmaker that we are interested in pursuing.”

‘Face’ time

Woo formed a relationship with Jere Hausfater, senior VP of business affairs and acquisitions at Buena Vista Intl., when BVI handled international distribution for the Hong Kong-born helmer’s action pic “Face/Off.” Hausfater, who also heads up BVFS, described Woo and Chang as “two of the really good guys of this industry.”

Woo is in Australia, in production on Paramount Pictures’ “Mission: Impossible 2,” starring Tom Cruise.

William Morris Agency, which reps Woo and Chang, brokered their deal with Newmarket and BVFS. Attorney Howard Abramson repped Newmarket.