May 28, 2008 / 12:26 AM / 10 years ago

Pollack's death casts doubt on production slate

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Monday’s death of filmmaker Sydney Pollack has thrown into limbo the many projects being developed by his production company, Mirage Enterprises.

Mirage finds itself in an unusual situation: Pollack ran the company with Oscar-winning “English Patient” director Anthony Minghella, who died March 18 following cancer surgery, and few companies have faced the death of two partners in such a short period of time. Pollack, the Oscar-winning director of “Out of Africa,” succumbed to cancer, aged 73.

Insiders said Mirage projects — those that are not partnered with other producers — might find themselves under the wings of Pollack’s agents at Creative Artists Agency and his family, who might try to keep them going. Another scenario is that Pollack’s daughter Rebecca, who was an executive at United Artists, might take over.

“We’re all flying a little blind right now,” said one person close to Pollack’s camp and involved in several projects.

Mirage, which has offices in Los Angeles and London, has a first-look deal at the Weinstein Co., and the company has said that it is intent on moving forward on those projects, including “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” which is going ahead at HBO.

Mirage’s docket at the Weinstein Co. also includes the high-profile remake of the Oscar-winning German drama “The Lives of Others” as well as the adaptation of Allison Pearson’s novel “I Don’t Know How She Does It.” The latter has David Frankel (“Marley & Me”) attached to direct.

Other projects, most of which are book adaptations or international-flavored thrillers, include:

— “The Ninth Life of Louis Drax,” which Minghella adapted based on a novel by Liz Jensen.

— “The Silver Lining Playbook” an adaptation of a Matthew M. Quick book that Pollack was producing with Michelle Raimo.

— “Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand,” an adaptation of a children’s fantasy novel that sees the Weinstein Co. sharing the project with Miramax. Sources said “Bartimaeus” had been dormant for a while.

— At Miramax, Mirage was working on “The Resurrectionists,” based on the novel by Michael Collins. Minghella had been attached to direct; the project was put on hold when he died.

— “Colombian Gold” is set up at Focus, with Mirage producing with Miguel Arteta’s Flan de Coco Films shingle. Arteta also was attached to direct the murder mystery.

— “Liberty,” a thriller set in Haiti, is set up at Intermedia Films with Jez Butterworth directing.

— Mirage also was producing “Turbulence” at Universal, home of Pollack’s last big studio picture, “The Interpreter.” Tom Pabst is writing the internationally set thriller.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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