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Garnett crosses over to London’s shingle

'Fog' producer nabs 'true collaborator'

Jane Garnett has joined Michael London Prods. as a producer to work with Michael London on the development, packaging and production of current and future projects for the company.

“I’ve pursued Jane for two years, and I’m thrilled that she is finally ready to make a move,” London said. “I’ve been fortunate to see three movies that I’m especially proud of come to fruition in the last year, but there is no way to maintain that pace without a true collaborator in all phases of the process.”

London is producing Alexander Payne’s comedy “Sideways” for Fox Searchlight about two men on a wayward wine-tasting trip in California and stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen.

He also produced “The House of Sand and Fog,” starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly for DreamWorks that will be released Dec. 25.

London says he will continue to model projects much along the same lines as “Sideways,” “House of Sand and Fog” and “Thirteen,” Catherine Hardwicke’s critically acclaimed pic for Fox Searchlight.

“Having worked with three amazing writer-directors over the last 18 months, I’ve realized this method of putting together projects is a much better business model for me. It’s a much more effective way to make better movies with talented screenwriters and directors by bringing financiers onboard when all the creative work is done and the cast is in place because it helps circumvent development and packaging nightmares,” said London.

Upcoming productions which Garnett and London will work on include:

  • “The Illusionist,” written and to be directed by Neil Burger (“Interview With the Assassin,”) based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer Steven Millhauser. Pic, set in early 20th-century Vienna, is the story of a stage magician who uses his magic to win back the great love of his life from a brutal enemy, her fiance, who is also the powerful crowned prince of Austria.

    London Prods. will produce with Brian Kopelman and David Levien, who originated pic and developed it initially with Burger. Pic, budgeted at around $15 million, is expected to shoot next summer in Eastern Europe and is out to casting.

  • “Oskur Fishman,” to be helmed by Jonas Akerland and expected to shoot next summer in Sweden. Winona Ryder and “House of Sand and Fog” thesp Kingsley are attached to star in ensemble pic, a surreal contemporary fairy tale in a vein similar to “Wizard of Oz.”

    Screenplay is somewhat legendary in Hollywood and was the boyhood work of Tony Kunewalder and Brian Horiuchi that was put on ice in 1995 after the death of Kunewalder.

  • “King of California,” which reteams London with Payne. Pic was written and will be directed by Michael Cahill, a UCLA Film School friend of Payne’s. Jeff Bridges is attached to star in pic, a quirky father/daughter comedy about a teenage girl who must be the grown-up to her eccentric, unstable father. Their roles change when he manages to convince her that Spanish gold is buried under the Wal-Mart next to the Simi Valley development where they live. Pic is budgeted at under $10 million and is expected to shoot in L.A. after Payne’s “Sideways” wraps.

  • “Burden,” which reteams London with Hardwicke. Pic, to star Aaron Eckhart, was penned by Eckhart’s writing partner, Andrew Heckler. Eckhart and Heckler will produce with London. “Burden” is a contemporary love story about a young white racist whose love affair with a nonconformist woman puts him in deadly peril with the Southern community that raised him.

Past practices

Garnett was most recently VP at Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way where she worked on such projects as “Gardener of Eden,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “Jesse James Hollywood.”

Before that she was head of development for Andrew Karsch’s Longfellow Pictures and began her career at the BBC in London as a researcher and script reader.

London also recently produced “40 Days and 40 Nights” and “The Guru.”

He is also producing “Passengers” for Focus Features, in which Adrien Brody is attached to star; “Fortune’s Fools,” for Working Title to be produced with Paul Schiff, and with James Foley attached to direct; and “Your Word Against Mine,” a romantic comedy set in the world of Scrabble. Michael Lehman will direct pic, which London will produce with Cotty Chubb for Miramax.