The Jersey Films divorce proceedings will be completed June 30, as Danny DeVito retains the company names and will continue producing existing projects with ex-partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. That duo is expected to form a new company together.
The trio’s plan to separate after a 12-year run was revealed exclusively in Daily Variety last February, and the partners laid out their plans in a staff meeting Friday. June 30 was chosen because that is the expiration date of the company’s first-look deal at Universal. Deal for Jersey Television, which is run by John Landgraf and got an ABC series pickup on the “Out of Sight” spinoff “Karen Sisco,” will continue. Company has more than a year left on its deal with Sony.
The partners never gave reasons for the split. But it was widely speculated that they’d developed differing interests. DeVito, for instance, has concentrated on non-Jersey directing vehicles like “Death to Smoochy,” the recently completed Ben Stiller-Drew Barrymore comedy “Duplex” for Miramax and the Columbia remake “I Married a Witch.” That left Shamberg and Sher doing most of the work and sharing the loot.
DeVito will hang on to the monikers Jersey Films, Jersey Shore (the company’s arthouse offshoot) and Jersey Television. The name came from DeVito’s childhood stomping grounds. It is unclear whether U will continue as a home for Jersey, the new company expected to be set up by Shamberg and Sher, or deals with writer Scott Frank and writer-director Richard LaGravenese, whose production pacts ran through Jersey.
Jersey had a heckuva run, producing distinctive, stylish films that often crossed over to mainstream success, like “Erin Brockovich,” “Get Shorty,” “Pulp Fiction” and the DeVito-directed “Matilda.” Jersey also made “Man on the Moon,” “Living Out Loud,” “Hoffa,” “How High” and “Reality Bites,” among others. Jersey Shore made such low-budget films as “Super Troopers,” “Ghost World” and the Sex Pistols docu “The Filth and the Fury.”
The trio will continue to be active partners on pipeline projects such as the untitled film John Hamburg just directed with Stiller and Jennifer Aniston and the Zach Braff-directed “Large’s Ark,” which stars Braff and Natalie Portman. Jersey is still working on the Lawrence Block adaptation “A Walk Among the Tombstones” with screenwriter Scott Frank; the “Get Shorty” sequel “Be Cool” that looms as a possible Brett Ratner directing vehicle; “Peppermint Lounge,” which Ratner will direct and produce; and “Freedom Writers,” a Universal pic that LaGravenese wrote and will direct, with Reese Witherspoon expected to star. The actress is also attached to the Jersey-produced Lisa Schrager-penned “OGB” at U.