Tracey Nyberg’s role at Overbrook is two-pronged: Half her time is spent working in a traditional development executive capacity, and the other half is spent working exclusively with Will Smith, developing his scripts, sometimes on a word-by-word basis.
On “I Am Legend,” for instance, Nyberg recalls marathon eight-hour story meetings with the actor and director Francis Lawrence.
“It was about figuring out every aspect of the character’s development,” Nyberg explains. “Thinking about what was happening, why it was happening, dissecting in intimate detail every word, every line.”
A Seattle native, Nyberg moved to L.A. shortly after graduating from Stanford U. five years ago. She ended up working as an assistant to Emma Watts, co-president of production at Fox who supervised the production of “I, Robot.” It was after that film’s release that Nyberg met Smith, with whom she worked on “Hancock” and “Seven Pounds.”
Three movies are in the pipeline for ’09, including “Paper Wings,” the tragic love story of a country singer and a bull rider, set up at Sony. Also upcoming is Smith vehicle “The Last Pharaoh,” with Randall Wallace scripting.
At Overbrook, as in Smith’s career, international appeal is a goal.
“Any movie we make needs to play around the world,” says Nyberg. “It needs to relate to some aspect of the human experience that isn’t specific to one region or to one culture. We’re looking at positive human journeys that everyone, everywhere can relate to, on some level.”