EXCLUSIVE: A week before Sundance, Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road Films is strengthening its film acquisition team by hiring Peter Lawson and giving him the newly created title of executive vice president of Productions and Acquisitions. Lawson is a top-flight acquisitions exec who served stints most recently at The Weinstein Company and before that Miramax. He left to get a taste of production experience in big-sized studio films by joining Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road as production president.
After two years, I’m hearing that he has shaken up his career GPS and is taking the exit from Thunder Road onto Open Road. Before he left TWC, Lawson worked on such films as the John Hillcoat-directed Lawless, The Iron Lady, The Company Men, Blue Valentine, The Intouchables and the docus Undefeated, Bully and The Tillman Story. At Miramax, his acquisition deals included The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. Before that at First Look Pictures, he bought Chopper and Hillcoat’s The Proposition.
Lawson takes the job after wrapping the Keanu Reeves-starrer John Wick, on which he is exec producer for Thunder Road. There, he set up remakes of the French organized crime thriller Gang Story, the French crime thriller 36 and an Arash Amel-scripted film about Marie Colvin based on the Marie Brenner Vanity Fair article. Awaiting confirmation from Open Road but expect Lawson to once again be a familiar face in Park City.