Balaban juggles TV, pic projects

Producer-helmer to climb to 'Attic' with USA

Producer, director and actor Bob Balaban has set up at USA Films the Tony Horwitz book “Confederates in the Attic,” which he plans to produce and possibly direct.

Via his 3-year-old Gotham-based Chicago Films shingle, Balaban is also moving ahead with a slew of film and television projects, all overseen by Chicago’s director of development, Allison Shigo.

“Confederates,” based on the first chapter of the Horwitz book, will be co-produced by Oliver Platt. USA Films prexy of production Donna Gigliotti, along with senior veep of production Matt Wall, are overseeing pic’s development. Paul Bernbaum is penning the screenplay.

“My experience with USA Films has been very productive,” said Balaban. “Donna (has) great follow-through and has been consistently supportive.”

The Balaban-produced “Gosford Park,” directed by Robert Altman and co-starring Maggie Smith, Emily Watson and Kristin Scott-Thomas, is currently in production and will be released by USA Films. Capital Films sold territory rights to the pic at the Cannes Film Festival.

‘Bride’ in the aisle

Balaban, who is repped as director and producer by UTA, is fast-tracking “Kiss the Bride,” which he is producing with Jonathan Demme’s company. Project, which may be shot digitally for $2 million, stems from improvs Balaban did with actors Lisa Kudrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman, from which Lynn Grossman penned a script. Story centers on a young Midwestern couple who are getting married and end up on a gameshow.

Pic, originally being developed by USA Films, was picked up in turnaround by 49th Parallel, which will finance it.

Chicago Films is also developing “Daniel Martin,” with a screenplay penned by Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”) based on the novel by John Fowles. Pic will be produced by Balaban and Ileen Maisel, head of Fine Line’s European division.

Book centers on a 55-year-old playwright who has become a Hollywood scribe but realizes he has to go back and lead the life he wanted to lead, marrying the person with whom he was really in love.

‘Death’ lives

Chicago Films has also taken rights to “Sector General,” based on a series of books by British author James White, and “The Death Row Project,” about six men in their 30s and 40s who live in the South and spend their time re-enacting the Civil War.

As an actor, Balaban, repped by Susan Smith & Associates, is lensing “The Majestic,” which stars Jim Carrey. Frank Darabont directs for Castle Rock Entertainment.