EXCLUSIVE: John Lesher, freshly nominated for the PGA Award for Birdman, is joining LBI Entertainment, the management/production company founded by Rick Yorn, Ian Montone and Dave Baram, with Julie Yorn running the production business.
The details and structure still are being worked out, but I’ve confirmed that Lesher is joining forces with a team he has a long relationship with. They will collaborate on future projects, as the next step in his career. “Taking on this next chapter working with Rick and Julie is a dream come true,” said Lesher in confirming the move. “We do different things and we complement each other, and together this will be exciting.”
Lesher, once a top-tier agent of directing talent at UTA and Endeavor before he ran Paramount Classics and then Paramount Pictures, has fast become a taste-making producer through his Le Grisbi Productions shingle. The most recent success is Birdman, the black comedy directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Lesher was his longtime agent), as well as the David Ayer-directed Fury, the WWII tank film that stars Brad Pitt and was released by Sony in October. Lesher also produced Ayer’s End Of Watch. Birdman is up for seven Golden Globes this weekend; the New Regency/Fox Searchlight film has been squarely in the Oscar mix since it closed the New York Film Festival.
Lesher is in postproduction on Black Mass, the Scott Cooper-directed Cross Creek drama with Johnny Depp playing notorious Boston gang leader Whitey Bulger; Warner Bros is releasing the film in September. Lesher is producing with Appian Way a Shane Salerno-scripted adaptation of the Don Winslow novel Satori at Warner Bros as a potential Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle, as well as two films that have American Sniper star Bradley Cooper attached: Dark Invasion and American Blood. Lesher will produce those pre-existing projects under his Le Grisbi banner.
“For the over 20 years I have worked with John, I have admired his great taste, passion and tenacity, and we have long talked about being in business together,” said Rick Yorn. Said Julie Yorn, “It is wonderful to start the new year with this partnership, making it official, and we are excited to begin our collaboration.”
LBI most recently produced comedy hit The Other Woman, the Cameron Crowe-directed We Bought A Zoo and the Tony Scott-directed Unstoppable.