EXCLUSIVE… 2ND UPDATE: I’ve learned more info now… Graham King’s GK Films is laying off SVP Grey Rembert because “she’s a books person and brought in great books, but having a books person is a luxury for anyone and especially for an indie company”. The company also recently hired Abby Ex as VP Production & Development from The Weinstein Co and she’s seen as Rembert’s replacement. But I’m told GK Films will be hiring more physical producers shortly. In addition, the company and COO Bahman Naraghi “mutually decided” to part ways, albeit reluctantly and only because I’m told that Naraghi now wants to change careers and become a film producer. The COO will be replaced. Meanwhile, PR’s Mic Kramer just snagged a new job at Paramount so that’s why he’s leaving.
Rembert had been with Graham a long time: the former DreamWorks production executive was a lit specialist who joined King’s Initial Entertainment Group as VP of Development back in 2006. She was put in charge after GK Films acquired the feature film rights to the Lara Croft adventure Tomb Raider aiming for a 2013 release. She’s also the exec who brought Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret into GK Films which lost a heartbreaking mint on Martin Scorsese’s 2011 big-budget 3D family fare Hugo.
Naraghi in 2008 joined Graham King’s GK Films in the newly created role of COO and was tasked with leading the Santa Monica-based company’s financial and operational development and plan, as well as implementing the distribution structure. Naraghi reported directly to King and arrived from Netflix, where he spearheaded that company’s push into acquiring and developing original content and played an integral role in establishing the now-defunct Red Envelope.
In addition GK Films is laying off 3 assistants: one is owner Graham King’s (“He has two assistants and decided he only needs one”), one was Rembert’s, and another was Kramer’s.
There is a difference of opinion on whether there are more layoffs to come. But I’m inclined to trust my sources who are saying GK Films will be as active as ever under King and his business partner, Dallas oilman Tim Headington. And that the company’s fortunes look brighter with these two biopics ahead: John Logan writing the Four Seasons musical Jersey Boys, and Sacha Baron Cohen starring in the Freddie Mercury biopic.