Hyde Park Names Stephen Gary VP
Ahead of Cannes, Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group has picked Stephen Gary as VP of its international sales division. He comes from IM Global, where he worked on titles like Before Midnight Dead Man Down. He’ll report to Hyde Park International’s president Eric Christenson. The company’s current slate includes Every Secret Thing with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks, Adult World with Emma Roberts and John Cusack and Sunlight Jr. with Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon, as well as an untitled Elmore Leonard project that stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes and Tim Robbins. Gary’s career began in the global finance and distribution department at William Morris Endeavor and includes a stint at Essential Entertainment, where he executed sales on The Expatriate and Barney’s Version. - Joe Utichi
Hyde Park Names Stephen Gary VP
Image Nation has separated its U.S. business from its local filmmaking activity. Michael Garin, who was appointed CEO in February, will continue to be overall head of Image Nation, while running overseas business Image Nation International. Its American partners include Participant Media, Hyde Park Entertainment, Parkes/Macdonald and Warner Bros. Former UAE ambassador Mohammed Al Otaiba has been appointed head of newly formed Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which has produced two local movies so far: Sea Shadow and Djinn, directed by Tobe Hooper. Garin told me recently that he has spent time restructuring deals originally signed by his predecessor Ed Borgerding, trying to give Image Nation more of a say over what gets greenlighted. He has restructured Image Nation’s deal with National Geographic Films in particular. “Before I arrived, the strategy was much more passive,” he told me. “The partnerships have changed significantly. Before I arrived Participant and National Geographic were structured in a way that gave us little or no control over projects. Those are not structures I would have entered into on that basis.”
Patrick Aiello, longtime exec veep of creative affairs and production for Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment, is leaving after eight years. A Hyde Park spokesman said his contract wasn’t renewed. Aiello joined in 2003 in a producing deal that transitioned into the creative post. Aiello’s credits at Hyde Park include Street Fighter, The Other End of the Line, Asylum and The Double. Hyde Park has three films in post production through its $250 million joint venture with Imagenation–Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Lost Christmas and The Double–and Hyde Park/Imagenation is finalizing a large deal with a Chinese media company through its Sinagpore offices.
EXCLUSIVE: Eric Bana was previously attached but now I’ve learned that action star Jason Statham is interested but hasn’t signed yet. Hyde Park International will start selling the pic in Berlin. Echelon is based on the novel Firewall, the 3rd book in pseudonymous author Andy McNab’s 13-book series. It will be the 3rd movie financed through the $250 million Hyde Park/Imagenation Abu Dhabi deal after Ghost Rider 2 and The Double. Simon Crane, stunt coordinator on The Tourist and Salt, will make his feature directing debut on this adaptation of the action thriller novel by bestselling novelist Andy McNab. Ashok Amritraj of Hyde Park Entertainment is producing alongside veteran casting agent Bonnie Timmermann (Public Enemies) and Steve Chasman, who’s worked with Statham ever since Transporter (2002). Statham would play Nick Stone, an SAS soldier who finds himself caught between the Russian Mafia and western secret agents trying to get their hands on the Echelon computer program. McNab is an ex-SAS soldier who wrote the bestselling non-fiction account Bravo Two Zero of going behind enemy lines in the first Iraq war. Then the author branched out into thrillers featuring his Nick Stone character and a series of Young Adult books.
I’ve learned that the Abu Dhabi-based film financier is talking to European producers in France and Germany about investing in projects. This may turn into a longer-term joint venture, like the ones Imagenation has already sealed with Hollywood producers including Parkes/Macdonald and Participant. It’s puzzled me as to why this Arab financier has not done any deals with European companies yet. It’s announced $600 million worth of joint ventures with Hollywood, yet European film companies such as Constantin of Germany or Italian producer Cattleya have their own studio links. Europe is closer to the Gulf than Los Angeles