20th Century Fox Film chief creative officer Tony Sella isn’t formally out the door yet, as Deadline exclusively revealed yesterday, but his departure is already a sales tool in some Hollywood circles. “You fired Tony Sella, saved some money there,” quipped producer Mark Gordon last night at a charity auction to Fox production president Emma Watts in front of a crowd of powerplayers. Generating a brief giggle from some of those present, the remark from the PGA co-President came during a one-liner filled big ticket auction he was conducting Saturday at the An Evening Under The Stars gala fundraiser for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center at director Roland Emmerich’s house. Gordon went on to say “Tony’s a great guy” but still thought Watts could pony up some dough and successfully bid for one of the several item like 5 days in Emmerich’s London home or 5 days on his yacht off the coast of Thailand that were on the block to raise money for the Center. She declined. Along With Emmerich, Gordon and Watts, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Glee/American Horror Story boss Ryan Murphy, Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin, X-Men director Bryan Singer, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, HBO’s Michael Lombardo, Criminal Minds/Teen Wolf producer Jeff Davis, Scandal actor and writer Dan Bucatinsky and actress Jane Lynch were also among the well-heeled attendees last night at the dinner and auction. Sony’s Amy Pascal was there too but had left by the time Gordon made his Sella joke. In the end, while Watts didn’t bid, the auction alone raised over $600,000 for the Center. (UPDATE, 2:04 PM: In total, the gala pulled in a hefty $2.9 million to help homeless LGBT youth in LA.)
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Roybal, the well-respected president of Steven Rales’ indie production shingle Indian Paintbrush, is leaving. He is being hired by 20th Century Fox production president Emma Watts to become EVP Production. He fills the slot that Peter Kang left when he exited the studio and subsequently signed on at Paramount. I’m told that Roybal will oversee Gone Girl and the Matt Reeves-directed sequel Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Gone Girl, an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestseller, is the odds-on favorite to be the next film that David Fincher directs.
He leaves Rales’ Indian Paintbrush in a good place. The company has established itself as a respected financier and producer of classy fare, from the Drake Doremus-directed Like Crazy to the Wes Anderson-directed Moonrise Kingdom and his follow-up The Grand Budapest Hotel. Also coming is Jason Reitman’s next film, Labor Day. Roybal’s exit is amicable.
20th Century Fox Production President Emma Watts Reups Through 2015; Sets Matthew Vaughn For ‘X-Men: First Class’ Sequel
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has re-upped production president Emma Watts to a new multi-year deal that will keep her in the post through 2015. The new deal was made by Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Since taking over as sole production president in 2009, Watts has made it a priority to populate the studio’s slates with elite filmmakers, and keep them coming back for more. The studio in past years had the reputation of being very hands-on. That kept budgets in check, but didn’t make Fox a haven for major directors.