Mutual chief takes Cruise

Shingle left with about 15 mature development projects

Don Granger is leaving his partnership with Gary Levinsohn in Mutual Film Co. to take a senior executive post with C/W Prods., the Paramount-based company run by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.

Granger starts his job this week.

Levinsohn couldn’t be reached, but Granger said his ex-partner continues to operate Mutual as a finance and production company. Mutual hadn’t gotten any homegrown projects into production before Granger left, but did co-finance Paramount films “Timeline” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”

Mutual has about 15 now-mature development projects that include “Lone Wolf and Cub,” a Western to be directed by Darren Aronofsky, and “The Authority,” a drama being done with producer Neal Moritz.

“I count Gary as one of my dear friends and look forward to producing with him the films we developed,” Granger said. “But when this opportunity arose, it was one that I couldn’t pass up.”

Granger’s relationship with C/W dates back to its inception, when Wagner left CAA to partner with her longtime client Cruise in a Par-based producing venture. Granger, who spent 11 years at Paramount before leaving his exec veep post for Mutual, was the presiding executive on the C/W-produced “Mission: Impossible 2.”

Indie viewpoint

“We have known and worked with Don a long time at Paramount, and he is smart and has very strong relationships in the film community, both in business and talent,” Wagner said. “He’s got experience and a grasp and understanding of the filmmaking process from the vantage point of an executive and an indie producer. We’re looking forward to bringing his skills, talent and relationships to C/W as we expand our company and think he will be instrumental in helping us with that expansion.”

Cruise and Wagner, who are known to be very selective and hands-on with the films they produce, have gotten more aggressive on the acquisition front and have several major projects prepping for production.

At Par, C/W is readying a third installment of “Mission: Impossible” with “Narc” director Joe Carnahan, and with Cameron Crowe the company is producing “Elizabethtown,” with Crowe directing Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom. At DreamWorks, C/W is producing with Jonas McCord “Ask the Dust,” an adaptation of the classic John Fante novel, which Robert Towne scripted and will direct. Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek star.

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