LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Filmmaker Paul Haggis has inked an overall deal with United Artists that will have the Oscar winner writing, producing and possibly directing projects with the studio through his newly created Hwy61 production shingle.
Under the terms of the pact, which is nonexclusive and leaves Haggis free to collaborate elsewhere, the "Crash" director is expected to produce two films a year with his producing partner Michael Nozik.
First up for Hwy61 -- the name is taken from the Bob Dylan song "Highway 61 Revisited" -- will be an adaptation of the children's literature series "Ranger's Apprentice," with Haggis writing the screenplay with his daughter Alissa and possibly directing. UA optioned the rights to the fantasy series by Australian author John Flanagan this month.
Also under the newly struck partnership, the Santa Monica-based Hwy61 and the Paula Wagner/Tom Cruise-helmed studio have optioned the rights to the Joseph Weisberg novel "An Ordinary Spy."
Haggis, who co-wrote and directed the Oscar-winning "Crash" and the recent Iraq War drama "In the Valley of Elah" and wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning "Million Dollar Baby," said he hopes to create a home for writers and directors.
This latest venture marks more movement for the independently run UA, which this month picked up the remake rights to the Spanish film "Los Cronocrimenes," to be produced by Steve Zaillian. That deal marked the first the studio has made since signing an interim agreement with the striking Writers Guild of America.