Kahli Small has been named SVP Drama Development for NBC Entertainment where she will report to Pearlena Igbokwe, EVP, Drama Development. Small most recently was EVP of Production and Development for Graham King’s GK Films, which she left last fall. Prior to joining GK in May 2011, Small spent eight years as a production executive for Focus Features, serving her last four years as EVP of Production. There, she oversaw more than 20 films, including Milk and Eastern Promises.
Abby Ex, who as VP Production & Development at The Weinstein Co worked on Oscar Best Picture winner The King’s Speech among other films, has been hired for the same position at Graham King’s GK Films. She will be responsible for helping find and acquire material for the company and will serve as creative support on existing projects. Ex will report to Kahli Small, EVP Production & Development. Before Weinstein — where she also worked on Nine, Hoodwinked Too and upcoming releases The Master, This Must Be the Place and Dirty Girl — she worked for Harry Potter producer David Heyman at at Heyday Films. ”Abby has built an amazing network of relationships, and has her finger on the pulse of Hollywood,” Small said. “She knows how to spot young talent, as well as talk to the more established filmmakers. She has great taste and commercial instinct, a unique and killer combination.”
GK Films, which next up has Martin Scorsese’s Hugo due out Nov. 23, is currently in development on the screen adaptation of Jersey Boys, the untitled Freddie Mercury story starring Sacha Baron Cohen and written by Peter Morgan, and a reboot of Tomb Raider.
Graham King’s GK Films has hired Focus Features exec Kahli Small to be executive vice president of production and development. She will report directly to King and will work out of GK’s Santa Monica headquarters. Kahli is a seven-year vet of Focus Features and most recently held the title of executive vice president of production and development. Her projects have included the Oscar-nominated Harvey Milk biopic Milk, the David Cronenberg-directed Viggo Mortensen starrer Eastern Promises, and The American, which starred George Clooney. Before Focus, she was head of production at Key Entertainment, and was an exec at MGM.
“Her reputation in the industry and track record for success are exactly the qualities that we are looking for in executives as we expand our company,” King said in a statement. The appointment comes at a time when GK (run by King and partner Tim Headington) are gearing up on several major projects. They include a movie adaptation of the hit stage musical Jersey Boys, the untitled biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury that has a script by Peter Morgan and Sacha Baron Cohen starring, and a reboot of Tomb Raider. GK is about to start production on the Tim Burton-directed Johnny Depp starrer Dark Shadows at Warner Bros, and is in post production on the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, which Paramount releases Nov. 23. GK has also wrapped the William Monahan-directed London Boulevard with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley and …
Focus Features will give Dinner For Schmucks scribes David Guion and Michael Handelman their shot at matching director’s chairs. The duo just got set to write and direct Cruise of the Gods, a remake of the 2002 BBC comedy about a fan cruise held in honor of The Children of Castor, a fictitious 1980s post apocalyptic sci-fi TV series. The cast is the guest of honor, but they’ve got mixed feelings, specifically dependent on whose career stalled with the series, and who went on to bigger and better things. The comedy’s being shepherded by Focus execs Michael Pruss and Kahli Small, and produced by Red Hour’s Stuart Cornfeld and Ben Stiller, with Jeremy Kramer exec producing with Baby Cow Productions’ Steve Coogan and Henry Normal. It’s got that showbiz-gone-very-wrong premise, which Stiller and Cornfeld milked for laffs in films like Tropic Thunder and Zoolander. Coogan, who appeared in the original BBC series as well as Tropic Thunder, might well play one of the cast members aboard the cruise. Paramount releases the Jay Roach-directed Dinner For Schmucks on July 30, which Guion and Handelman adapted from the Francis Veber French film Le Diner de Cons.