CULVER CITY, Calif., June 30, 2009 - George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Smokehouse Pictures are in final negotiations to sign an exclusive two-year theatrical development and production deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment, it was announced today by Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Picture Entertainment and Chairman of the studio's Motion Picture Group.
Commenting on the announcement, Clooney said, "Warner Bros. has been a great place to work and I've felt like part of a family for almost 20 years. So in moving on, I'm leaving a terrific company and a lot of dear friends. They're a class act. In looking ahead, I'm tremendously excited to be working at Sony Pictures, and we all feel like it's a perfect match for Smokehouse. Grant Heslov and I hope to deliver the kind of films that will make them proud."
"We admire and respect George and Grant as filmmakers and producers and we couldn't be more excited to be in business with them and their talented team at Smokehouse Pictures," said Pascal. "The broad range of quality projects they have championed and the compelling and sometimes provocative material they support says everything about their company and their creative aspirations. While we have been trimming production deals overall for the last few years, we see real value in opening our doors to producers with their critical and commercial track record and their artistic point of view, and we know they will be a fantastic addition to the Sony Pictures family."
The Smokehouse Pictures team includes Senior Vice President of Development Nina Wolarsky, and creative executive Alex Meenehan. The company is currently in development on the following projects with Warner Bros.
Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. An adaptation of Jonathan Mahler's nonfiction book chronicling the historic Supreme Court case in which two lawyers sued the Bush administration on behalf of accused terrorist Salim Hamdan.
OUR BRAND IS CRISIS
A satirical comedy about American spin doctors competing in the same Presidential election in Bolivia. Based on the documentary by Rachel Boynton, with a script by Peter Straughan (MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS).
An adaptation of Beau Willimon's critically acclaimed play, set during the Iowa primary of a presidential race.
ESCAPE FROM TEHRAN
The true story of how the CIA used a fake movie project to smuggle hostages out of 1979 Tehran. Chris Terrio is writing the screenplay.
A contemporary spy thriller about a spy who risks everything to reveal a conspiracy after he's accused of a murder he didn't commit. Based on the bestselling book by Olen Steinhauer. Tony Peckham is writing the screenplay.
THE INNOCENT MAN
Based on the bestselling nonfiction book by John Grisham, the true story of murder and injustice in a small town in Oklahoma. Adapted by David Gordon Green.
GEORGE CLOONEY has gone from actor to producer to executive producer to screenwriter to director.
The son of an anchorman, Clooney is a strong First Amendment advocate with a deep commitment to humanitarian causes. In 2006, the same year Clooney won an Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor for Syriana, he also received Academy Award® nominations for Best Director and for Best Original Screenplay for Good Night, And Good Luck. In addition, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for Syriana and was nominated for SAG, BAFTA and Critic's Choice awards. The following year, Clooney's performance in the critically acclaimed film Michael Clayton earned him Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor.
Clooney's upcoming projects include The Men Who Stare at Goats, to be released in the fall. The film is produced by Smokehouse, the production company Clooney formed with Grant Heslov. Smokehouse's initial production was the romantic comedy Leatherheads, which Clooney also directed, for Universal. Clooney's other upcoming releases include Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, for Paramount, in which he stars as a corporate downsizer, and 20th Century Fox's animated feature The Fantastic Mr. Fox, in which he voices the title character.
Heslov and Clooney worked together at Section Eight, a company in which Clooney was partnered with Steven Soderbergh. Section Eight productions included Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12, Ocean's 13, Michael Clayton, The Good German, Good Night, and Good Luck., Syriana, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Jacket, Full Frontal, and Welcome To Collinwood.
In Section Eight's television division, Clooney was an executive producer and directed five episodes of "Unscripted," a reality-based show that debuted on HBO. He was executive producer and cameraman on "K Street," also for HBO.
Clooney's other film credits include three films for the Coen Brothers: Burn After Reading, Intolerable Cruelty, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. He also starred in Three Kings, Out of Sight, Solaris, The Peacemaker, Batman & Robin, One Fine Day, and From Dusk Till Dawn.
Clooney made his directorial debut in 2002 with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, for Miramax, winning the Special Achievement in Film Award from the National Board of Review..
He has starred in several television series, becoming best known to TV audiences for his five years on the hit NBC drama "ER." His portrayal of Dr. Douglas Ross earned him Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, People's Choice and Emmy nominations. In 2009, he returned for one final episode in which his character was reunited with his longtime love. Clooney also starred in the live television broadcast of "Fail Safe" in 2000..
GRANT HESLOV and George Clooney are partners in Smokehouse Pictures, a production company they formed in 2006.
Heslov produced and co-wrote of Good Night, and Good Luck for which he received Academy Award® nominations: Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. He served as director and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series "Unscripted", and co-executive producer of "K Street", both for HBO. He also served as producer on the romantic comedy "Leatherheads," Smokehouse's initial production. He just completed directing Smokehouse Pictures' The Men Who Stare at Goats, to be released this fall by Overture.
Heslov also has had a long career as an actor. Some of his feature credits include The Scorpion King, Dante's Peak, The Birdcage, Congo, and True Lies.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 130 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com
For more information, please contact: