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Planet in Disney pic prod’n orbit

Affleck, Damon banner inks film deal

Live Planet, the partnership among Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, has secured a two-year film production deal at Disney.

Overall film deal, the first for the company, came about because of Affleck’s close relationship with Disney topper Dick Cook from the films “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor.” Initially formed to hatch reality shows, the company is now refocusing to use Disney as a launch pad for features.

“We formed Live Planet with the idea of focusing our efforts on integrated media projects,” said Moore. “We raised independent money and wanted to stay independent and sell projects to the most interested parties. We found that integrated properties are hard to do and that they can take a very long time.”

Live Planet used the initial $15 million it raised to hatch Project Greenlight with Miramax, with writer-director Pete Jones winning the first contest that entitled him to $1 million to make his Miramax-distribbed film “Stolen Summer.” The headaches of indie filmmaking were captured for the HBO series “Project Greenlight,” and Live Planet is moving forward with a second season, with several tweaks: This time, a winning director will be chosen to helm the winning script in two separate contests that have been held over the past few months.

The primary focus for the foursome was that series, as well as the Bailey-and Affleck-created ABC reality gamer “Push, Nevada” and another HBO reality show revolving around a minor league sports team called “General Manager.”

But Live Planet has done OK on the film production front without trying much. Shingle has been involved in projects including “Matchstick Men,” the Ridley Scott-directed drama starring Nicolas Cage; a three-part adaptation of the Howard Zinn book “A People’s History of the United States” for HBO (with John Sayles writing the first two-hour installment); and a New Line pic called “Solace,” which is casting.

Three pics just wrapped: “Speakeasy,” for Miramax; the Jon Amiel-directed Paramount drama “The Core”; and the Michael Hoffman-directed “The Emperor’s Club,” starring Kevin Kline, at Universal. Live Planet also has the Columbia drama “Dreadnought” with Will Smith attached and is involved in the next “American Pie” installment being prepped at Universal.

While the Disney deal doesn’t tie either Damon or Affleck to star in any of the pics, the partners hope to find vehicles for them, said partners Bailey and Moore.

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