EXCLUSIVE: Peter Chernin’s production company has quietly brought in veteran movie producer Jenno Topping to be EVP of the film department reporting to its president Dylan Clark. People who do business with the company say she’s already in place. I’m told she reports to Clark but appears to be running the film side alongside him. While Clark was an eight-year Universal Pictures executive and former EVP of Production there before starting at Chernin Entertainment 18 months ago, Topping has hands-on filmmaking experience especially on Sony Pictures productions. She had a first-look deal with Sony’s Columbia Pictures for nearly a decade before partnering with actor Tobey Maguire at his Columbia-based Maguire Entertainment where she oversaw the development slate and day-to-day production. But Chernin retired as News Corp’s No. 2 with an amazing goodbye package that included “put” Fox films and TV shows which is something no one gets in Hollywood these days. So working for his company is considered a sweet film gig. UPDATE: An insider tells me: “I think this is much more straightforward than people are trying to interpret. Dylan wanted help running the group (especially with production since he was gone for 4 months this summer to produce Rise Of The Apes). He went looking, found Jenno, and brought her to Peter. This is just trying to improve and upgrade the operation.”
Topping most recently produced Country Strong, and her other credits include Catch And Release, Guess Who, the Charlie’s Angels franchise, 28 Days, Dr Doolittle, Can’t Hardly Wait, and The Brady Bunch Movie. Previously an executive for HBO Films, Topping supervised The Late Shift and Rasputin. Founded in 2009, Chernin Entertainment’s first feature film Planet Of The Apes is set to be released in November 2011 and is developing Fox’s Daredevil sequel (which just attached Twilight Saga’s Eclipse helmer David Slade to direct), The Pool (with the Blades of Glory team of Will Speck & Josh Gordon), and others. Besides Chernin Entertainment, Chernin also heads The Chernin Group, which manages, operates and invests in businesses in the media, entertainment and technology sectors. He was previously President/COO of News Corp., and Chairman/CEO of the Fox Group.