EXCLUSIVE: Gossip Girl co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are expanding their Fake Empire banner into feature films. Paramount has staked them to a two-year first look producing deal, and Schwartz and Savage are hiring WME agent Lis Rowinski aboard to run the film company as vice president of features. Rowinski, who spent the last decade at Endeavor and then WME, was part of the agency team that repped Schwartz and Savage. She will take an office on the Paramount lot.
The deal was made by Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman. While Schwartz and Savage don’t have the feature track record they have on TV—they worked together on his series creation The O.C. and he also co-created the NBC hit Chuck—Goodman felt they were well placed to make the jump from TV to features the way that Bad Robot’s JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk did at Paramount and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci did at DreamWorks when Goodman was president there. The hope is that they’ll infuse their film company with the expedient pace that the television business works at, and introduce new TV writing talent into the movie mix. The deal, which begins June 1, is unusual in that it is not loaded with high overhead—Schwartz and Savage already have a big overall TV deal with Len Goldstein at Warner Bros Television– but Paramount will give them a lot of autonomy to buy projects with a hip youthful vibe that the studio hopes will pay off in a not obvious hit like the next Paranormal Activity, District 9 or Transformers. Schwartz and Savage are incentivized to be prolific suppliers of films with a pop entertainment sensibility for Paramount and its MTV Films and Nickelodeon Films banners.
Schwartz and Savage so far have one film project set, an updated adaptation of the Jay McInerney novel Bright Lights, Big City which Schwartz is writing to direct, with Savage producing. The project predated the Paramount deal and is set up at MGM.