Rick Schwartz, a former production exec at Miramax and Graham King’s IEG, has launched Overnight Prods.
The private, equity-backed, Gotham-based company has a stake in Toronto selection “The Lucky Ones” and upcoming Lindsay Lohan pic “Labor Pains.”
It has also set up Phillip Noyce-helmed thriller “Southbound,” Salma Hayek-produced musical “La Banda” and a remake of festival prizewinner “13 Tzameti” controlled overseas by Paramount Vantage.
The lead investor in Overnight is Alan Bernon, a former top exec in the dairy biz.
The company’s main focus is development, which makes Overnight different from the many production companies to arise from the recent influx of capital into the movie biz.
“When the new money started coming in, everybody wanted money for production,” said Schwartz, who rose from a job as Harvey Weinstein’s assistant to a senior VP shepherding “The Others,” “Gangs of New York” and other films. “But I went after the more difficult money, which is development.”
Schwartz lived in Spain for an extended period during the making of “The Others.” Pic star Nicole Kidman remains a champion of Schwartz’s.
“Rick’s producing success comes not only from his impeccable creative taste,” Kidman said, “but also from his unsinkable integrity and compassion and humor — qualities too often lost in the numbers game of making movies.”
Getting pics into development is typically an expensive proposition given the slim number of titles that actually make it into production. But since launching in the spring, Overnight has managed to get several films in motion, with two projects shooting in November and a handful of others targeted for 2009 starts.
“Our ratio has to be tight,” Schwartz said. “If we develop 10 projects, we have to make eight of them.”
Noyce’s “Southbound” is a thriller set along the California-Mexico border. It was scripted by Peter Craig, and Eva Mendes is attached to star.
“La Banda” is described as a romantic-comedy musical about a high society wife who is forced to join a wedding band after her husband leaves her penniless.
In “13,” Sam Riley (“Control”) stars as a young repairman whose financial bind leads him into a game of Russian roulette. It is based on the 2005 fest entry “13 Tzameti,” which won the world cinema grand jury prize at Sundance, two awards in Venice and a pair of Cesars in France.
Gela Babluani, the writer-director of the original, is reprising those roles on the English-language remake. Equity firm Barbarian Films is co-financing.