EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott has hired veteran producer Kevin Walsh as new president of his Scott Free Films banner. Walsh, who is riding high as producer of the Kenneth Lonergan-directed Manchester By The Sea, has been readying the Michael Gracey-directed P.T. Barnum Fox musical The Greatest Showman, on which he is executive producer, and which stars Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams and is produced by Chernin Entertainment and Laurence Mark for Fox.
Walsh will take the reins at Fox-based Scott Free next month. He replaces Michael Schaefer, who left last month to become president of New Regency under Arnon and Yariv Milchan. Walsh, who broke in working for Steven Spielberg, Scott Rudin and Tommy Mottola, has producing credits that include The Way Way Back and Thoroughbred, the recently wrapped film that Cory Finley directed and stars the late Anton Yelchin. Walsh steps in as Scott continues his prolific pace. He is in post on Alien: Covenant, and is zeroing in on the next project he will direct. That is likely the Don Winslow bestseller The Cartel, which has a script by Shane Salerno. Scott Free, coming off The Martian, is also producing Murder On The Orient Express, which Kenneth Branagh is directing with Johnny Depp, Branagh, Daisy Ridley and Michelle Pfeiffer leading the whodunit ensemble.
Said Scott: “I am delighted Kevin is joining the company as our new president. He brings an impressive track record of producing interesting and brilliant films, and he has a sterling reputation as someone with impeccable taste and great talent relationships. We are all looking forward to having him at Scott Free. “
Said Walsh: “I am honored to join Ridley and his fantastic team at Scott Free, including Jules Daly, Justin Alvarado-Brown, and Mike Pruss. Ridley is not just a visionary director and storyteller — he’s an entrepreneur who has built one of the most robust and successful production companies in our industry. I could not be more thrilled to work alongside him as we continue to build it.”