NEW YORK — Cary Woods has been brought aboard Artists Management Group by partners Mike Ovitz, Rick Yorn and Julie Yorn to develop and produce films in addition to advising and managing clients.
Woods, who had been chairman and CEO of Independent Pictures, will fold that company and continue to produce six of the projects he developed there.
“We’ve known Cary a long time, and his enthusiasm is just infectious,” said Rick Yorn said. “His focus will be to work with AMG clients, both in packaging their projects and representing the artists. He’s going to be a big player in this company.” Woods will also help feed the Canal Plus-financed film production arm APG, run by Cathy Schulman, but he will primarily work directly with AMG.
“I’m looking forward to going there and producing movies, having 100% access to some of the most talented writers and directors in Hollywood,” Woods said. “I began as an agent and, in a weird way, never really left it. I’ve often counseled the writers, actors and directors I worked with as a producer, and if I develop strong connections with AMG talent and they want me to be part of their representation team, I’ll be glad to do that.”
Woods began his career as a talent agent at William Morris, where he repped the likes of Tim Robbins, Uma Thurman, Sam Kinison, Charlie Sheen as well as directors like Michael Lehmann, Todd Solondz and Gus Van Sant. He left to work as vice president for then Sony Pictures Entertainment chairmen Peter Guber and Jon Peters, and then became producing partners with Rod Fried before hatching his own deal at Miramax and then forming Independent Pictures. His producing credits span 17 films, including “Scream,” “Kids,” “Swingers,” “Cop Land,” So I Married An Axe Murderer, ” “Rudy” and “Godzilla.”
Independent was formed with the funding to fully finance low-budget indie-style films distributed by New Line. After producing five films there, the company recently moved into a first look deal at New Line when $30 million of fresh money from India-based investors fell through (Daily Variety, Feb. 6).
Woods vowed then to hunt for new funds but decided instead to move from New York to L.A. and join AMG.
Among the projects he’ll continue to produce is the Liberace biopic scripted by Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, which has “Quills” helmer Philip Kaufman attached to direct; the spoof “Raunchy Movie,” by “Scary Movie” scribes Seltzer and Friedberg; “Dorian Gray,” the Nate Goodman-scripted film that “Election” helmer Alexander Payne will direct; and “The Assassination of Richard Nixon,” which has Sean Penn attached to star, with Niels Mueller writing and directing. Woods developed those projects at Independent with Gina Mingacci, who hasn’t decided her next move, though Woods said that “if she wants it, she has a job with me for life.”