Focus Features - whose 2005 Oscar slate is heavily weighted towards literary adaptations – has brokered a deal with Random House, to create a co-venture to be called – wait for it – Random House Films. Essentially, the publishing house will pay NBC/Universal's indie arm to make movies out of their books. Oh, sorry – I mean, Focus and Random House will share costs and profits on the titles they co-produce.
Watch your back, Josh Hartnett – your girlfriend, Scarlett Johansson, is about to star opposite Colin Farrell in director Neil Jordan's Borgia. Set in 15th century Rome, Jordan's script is said to be chock full of "betrayal, backstabbing and murder,." I'm just saying – now might be a good time to talk about where this relationship is going ...
John Lesher, currently an exec at talent agency Endeavor, is leaving to become president of Paramount Classics. Viacom's indie division (whose website made my computer crash the first time I tried to write this post) has nothing of interest on its slate aside from the Colin Farrell/Salma Hayek drama Ask The Dust; this is presumably why they need a new president. But like new Paramount production head Gail Berman, Lesher has zero experience in film production.
Nic "I named my kid after Superman!" Cage will star opposite Julianne Moore in Next, and action/sci-fi about a guy who can see the future, and the federal agent on his tail. Lee Tamahori's got the directing covered.