“Black Swan” producer Brian Oliver, who is officially launching New Republic Pictures as a production and financing company, has signed a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures.
The company was announced Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival and will be backed by a film fund made up of investors out of the U.S., Europe, India, and the Middle East. Additionally, the first-look agreement with Paramount may include co-financing and distributing some theatrical features.
New Republic has also signed on to co-finance Paramount’s Elton John biographical musical “Rocketman,” written by Lee Hall and directed by Dexter Fletcher (“Bohemian Rhapsody”). Taron Egerton came on board to star in April.
Prior to forming New Republic, Oliver co-founded the production and financing company Cross Creek Pictures, where he spearheaded “Black Swan” and “Hacksaw Ridge.” Oliver received an Academy Award best picture nomination for “Black Swan.
Joining him in his new venture are his creative team from Cross Creek with John Hilary Shepherd as head of development and Courtney Shepard as creative executive. New Republic also hired former Pixomondo head of production BJ Farmer as VP of production and Angus Sutherland, formerly of Exclusive Media and IMR International, as VP of acquisitions and production. Matthew Quigg joins New Republic from Paramount Television as development coordinator.
Oliver said, “Earlier stops in my career, especially at Propaganda Films and Cross Creek Pictures, allowed me to learn all aspects of production, finance, distribution, and marketing, and to construct my own company from that extensive knowledge base in every aspect of the business. Building a new company from the ground up was a bit more challenging than I imagined and there have been a couple starts and stops with potential financing partners, but I believe the things I learned throughout this process will allow me to position my investors in even better ways for continued success.”
New Republic made its first spec purchase last December when it bought “Green Rush,” written by Matt Tente. The film is a character-driven heist thriller set in the world of legal marijuana dispenseries. New Republic is producing the project with Will Packer and James Lopez of Will Packer Productions.
The company is also venturing into television with several biographical limited series it is developing. The first is based on the life of Aristotle Onassis from his childhood in war-torn Greece through his rise as the world’s richest and most ruthless shipping magnate and finally, his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. New Republic is also developing limited series on the lives of actor Steve McQueen and Benjamin Franklin.
New Republic and Johnny Lin’s Filmula, one of the investors in the fund, are co-producing and co-financing Mexican Revolution thriller “The Creed Of Violence,” to be directed by Todd Field, and a remake of the 1978 action adventure “The Wild Geese.”
The deal with Paramount was negotiated on behalf of Oliver and New Republic by Kenneth Deutsch at Latham & Watkins and by Lindsay Conners of Mannat and Phelps.