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Shingle at U for ‘Pie’ guy

Writer Herz to set up 'writer-driven' company

As the “American Pie” series concludes with this past weekend’s “American Wedding,” scribe Adam Herz is moving on to set up his own production shingle at Universal Pictures.

The first project at the new venture, which has yet to settle on a name, will be an untitled comedy that Herz is currently writing; he also plans to make his helming debut on the pic. Producing along with Herz are Chris Bender of Benderspink and U-based producer Marc Platt.

With the new shingle, Herz said he wants to seek out young and undiscovered writers.

“I was lucky enough when I started in the business to get a lot of support from a number of people,” Herz told Daily Variety. “I see a lot of scripts, especially in comedy, that don’t quite get there for reasons that are eminently fixable. I want to have a writer-driven company that works with writers.”

In 1998 Herz himself was an unknown 25-year-old scribe, two years out of the U. of Michigan, when he penned a spec script originally submitted to studios under the heading “Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy Which Can Be Made for Under $10 Million Which Studio Readers Will Most Likely Hate But I Think You Will Love.”

Universal bought it for $750,000 and produced the pic as “American Pie.” Over the weekend, “American Wedding” added $34 million in its first session to the $521 million in worldwide box office generated by the franchise’s two other installments.

Big farce

Herz said his next project, which he is still scripting, will be a farce comedy in the tradition of “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Ruthless People.”

“It’s not in the vein of ‘American Pie,’ and it’s a kind of comedy that people don’t make anymore, but it will be a big comedy for big names,” he said.

In a statement, U production prexys Mary Parent and Scott Stuber said, “We think of Adam as one of our best examples of homegrown talent and are delighted to be moving to this next level of our relationship in which he will not only be making his directorial debut for us but also working together to discover and nurture new talent.”

Herz will also be continuing his relationship with reps at UTA. Signing on to Herz’s firm are production co-prexys Josh Shader, a longtime collaborator with Herz and an associate producer on “American Wedding,” and Greg Lessans, who in his four-year stint at Marc Platt Prods. has worked on “Legally Blonde II” and “Wicked.”