EXCLUSIVE: Seed Productions partners Hugh Jackman and John Palermo are splitting up. Jackman has decided to focus on his acting career, while Palermo has made a new deal at 20th Century Fox, where Seed was based. The new deal will run through end of 2011. Allan Mandelbaum will stay with Palermo as development veep.
Palermo was Jackman’s assistant for two years before they formed the company and set it at Fox four years ago. They produced X-Men: The Last Stand, Deception and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The company is also producing Avon Man, the Kevin Lima-directed film that Jackman dropped out of early this week, and Drive, a drama that Odd Lot Entertainment is financing. Jackman once planned to star in that film, an adaptation of the James Sallis novel. Ryan Gosling is now starring as a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman and discovers there is a contract on his head. Nicholas Winding Refn is directing. Production begins in September, with Palermo and Marc Platt producing.
Palermo said he and Jackman will continue working together on projects they set up together. That includes the Wolverine sequel they are producing with Lauren Shuler Donner that is gearing up for an early 2011 production start in Japan, with the studio narrowing its list of directors. Chris McQuarrie wrote that screenplay. Jackman and Palermo also remain partners on Barnum, the original musical that Jenny Bick is writing for Fox 2000. Jackman will play P.T. Barnum in that musical, which they are producing with Laurence Mark. There is also Carousel, the remake of the 1956 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that has a script by David McGee (Life of Pi), also at Fox 2000.
Palermo said they will selectively use the Seed Productions banner on those projects they do in tandem, but he will hatch a new company name for projects going forward. He recently made a deal at Fox 2000 on the Catherine Fisher novel Incarceron. Adam Cooper and Bill Collage have been set to write the script. They are coming off writing a film about Moses for Peter Chernin Entertainment.