EXCLUSIVE: Signaling an intention by EuropaCorp to ramp up Stateside production, principals Luc Besson and CEO Christophe Lambert have set veteran production executive and producer Lisa Ellzey to join EuropaCorp as executive vice president of U.S. Motion Picture Production. Ellzey, a Golden Globe and Emmy-winning producer, most recently was executive vice president of production at Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox. She will report directly to Lambert. I’ve heard EuropaCorp’s intention will be to generate as many as five film projects per year here when things get up and running. The company is very prolific from its base in France.
“We are proud to have convinced such a highly-respected and admired Hollywood senior executive as Lisa to join our company,” Lambert said. “Lisa has an amazing track record in the industry. Her arrival will help the studio take its international production capacity to the next level. Lisa’s appointment is the direct consequence of our ambition to double the volume of our English-language production slate in the coming years.”
Ellzey is known for taste and taking a strong hand in development. At Lionsgate, she was executive producer of the Gavin O’Connor-directed Warrior, which starred Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte, and before her stint at Fox she ran Scott Free Entertainment for Ridley and Tony Scott. There, she produced nine films that included The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, In Her Shoes, Kingdom of Heaven and The Gathering Storm. She started her career producing the indie film The Poison Tasters, which premiered at Cannes in 1995. “It’s an extraordinary honor to be joining EuropaCorp, a studio with a uniquely international brand,” Ellzey said. “I’m looking forward to working with Luc and Christophe to create a Los Angeles presence as the company casts a wider net for talent, fueling their expansion in an increasingly global marketplace.”
Ellzey arrives at EuropaCorp as Besson, Lambert and other members of the company’s senior management team continue to accelerate its business as a global studio based in Europe. Besson founded the studio in 1999 and most recently produced Taken 2, the action sequel that has become the highest grossing French production of all time, crossing $375 million worldwide. EuropaCorp is in post production on the Besson-directed Badfellas with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron and John D’Leo. The mobster action film is being executive produced by Goodfellas helmer Martin Scorsese, and it is a coproduction between EuropaCorp and Relativity Media.
EuropaCorp recently set Paul Walker to star in Brick Mansions, the American-ized remake of the Paris-set hit Banlieue 13. The film will be directed by Besson protege Camille Delamarre. Besson, who co-wrote the original, scripted the remake with his Taken collaborator Robert Mark Kamen. Walker will star with David Belle, who starred in the original and the sequel District 13: Ultimatum. Relativity Media will co-finance and distribute that film as well.