EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has given a two-year first look deal to John Hamburg, who got separated from the studio in its divorce with Paramount Pictures. Hamburg’s move puts the writer/director/producer on familiar ground, figuratively and literally. Aside from reuniting with DreamWorks, he’ll stay in the bungalow on the Universal lot where he has long had offices while co-writing all three films in the Uni/DreamWorks co-produced Meet the Parents franchise. He most recently co-wrote and produced Little Fockers. The deal was made by DreamWorks co-presidents of production Holly Bario and Mark Sourian.
“I’ve been in that same office for years, the difference is that when you sign a deal with another studio, the rent goes up threefold,” Hamburg told me. “I’m already producing the Marti Noxon script The Defenders with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and the big thing is writing/producing and directing a comedy for DreamWorks and bringing them other projects to produce. I’m in the early stages on a couple of ideas.”
Proven self-generators of star-driven comedy hits are like lefty baseball pitchers. There aren’t enough of them and they are always in demand. Hamburg and his WME reps didn’t shop his deal, though, because he wanted to be back with DreamWorks co-CEO/co-chairman Stacey Snider, for whom he also wrote and directed Along Came Polly and I Love You, Man. His other writing credits include Zoolander.
“From when she first hired me on Meet the Parents to I, Love You Man, Stacey has always believed in the type of movies that I want to make,” Hamburg said.
“John is a triple-threat writer, director and producer,” Snider said. “He has a unique voice and can go from ideal to movie all on his own. He’s going to be a huge asset to our studio.”