One might be tempted to blame the egregious miscasting of Anne Hathaway as a working class Brit in book-to-film adaptation One Day for the departure of Focus Features production chief John Lyons; he’s moving on to produce his own films. In any case, Focus has now replaced Lyons with Vendome Pictures production president Jeb Brody, who unlike Lyons and Focus bosses James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, will be based in Los Angeles. Brody supervised production on Source Code and Larry Crowne. (Official release and more bio info is below.)
The Universal subsidiary also made a pivotal announcement this week which marks a sea change under new owner Comcast: its new Focus World VOD Division.
JEB BRODY JOINING FOCUS FEATURES AS PRESIDENT OF PRODUCTION
LOS ANGELES, August 24th, 2011 – Jeb Brody is joining Focus Features as the worldwide film company’s president of production. Focus CEO James Schamus and president Andrew Karpen, to whom Mr. Brody will report, made the announcement today. Mr. Brody, who begins work next month, will be stepping into the production presidency post being vacated by John Lyons, who is returning to working as a film producer as well as devoting more time to his philanthropic endeavors. While Mr. Brody will be based in Focus’ West Coast offices, he will oversee the global Focus production team already in place in New York, London, and Los Angeles.
The executive is joining Focus directly from his position as president of production at Vendôme Pictures, the development, production, and financing entity. At Vendôme, he supervised production of, and was executive producer on, the company’s first two movies: Duncan Jones’ hit Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne, starring Mr. Hanks and Julia Roberts. Before joining Vendôme, Mr. Brody was one of the partners who successfully established Big Beach, the New York-based independent film production and finance company. In his years at Big Beach, he was producer or executive producer on such films as the multi-Academy Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; Laurie Collyer’s SherryBaby, starring Golden Globe Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal; and Christine Jeffs’ Sunshine Cleaning, starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.
Mr. Schamus and Mr. Karpen said, “Jeb is an exceptionally talented executive with great taste and instincts, with a genuine track record of making successful, smart movies. We’re thrilled to have found an ideal successor to John Lyons.”
Mr. Brody added, “I’ve long admired Focus; for close to a decade now, they’ve consistently made remarkable movies from visionary filmmakers. Under John’s leadership, the production team in place at Focus has already put together a terrific slate for next year, and I can’t wait to work with them to complete those projects and get new ones started.”
Earlier in his career, Mr. Brody was an executive at Ed Saxon and Peter Saraf’s Magnet Entertainment, working on such projects as Spike Jonze’s Adaptation. He previously was a curator at the Museum of the Moving Image; and was also editor and managing director at the celebrated film magazine Scenario.
Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.
Current and upcoming Focus releases include Lone Scherfig’s romance One Day, based on the bestselling novel, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess; John Madden’s espionage thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; the untitled film written and directed by Paul Weitz and starring two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Paul Dano; Lorene Scafaria’s pre-apocalyptic comedic romance Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, the new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA; the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, directed by Roger Michell and starring Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney; and Tomas Alfredson’s thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy.
Focus Features and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.