EXCLUSIVE: Indie finance/production co. Benaroya Pictures has boosted Ben Sachs from SVP to President as the company adds a new spec acquisition to its upcoming slate. Sachs will oversee Benaroya’s production and development titles including Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, and Damien Lewis and Z is for Zachariah starring Amanda Seyfried, Chris Pine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Those pics both begin filming early this year. In his new position Sachs will report directly to founder Michael Benaroya and produce or exec produce all Benaroya-backed films. That includes pre-production titles Asa Butterfield-starring King of the Kastle and Stephen King adaptation Cell with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. The latest addition to Benaroya’s line-up is spec script Slingshot, a sci-fi thriller penned by Scott Adams that made the Academy’s 2013 Nicholl Fellowship finals before the company acquired it in a pre-emptive deal. Michael Benaroya will produce alongside Energy Entertainment’s Brooklyn Weaver and Jonathan Krauss. CAA packaged the project, set up financing, and reps domestic rights. Scribe Adams is repped by Above the Line Agency.
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