EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have promoted Karen Lunder to be President of Imagine Features. Under her new position, Lunder will continue to oversee the company’s feature film production and development. She joined Imagine as a film exec in 2017.
Lunder is currently overseeing Hillbilly Elegy, an adaptation of the J.D. Vance bestseller that Vanessa Taylor adapted and for Howard to direct. Hillbilly Elegy sold to Netflix in a competitive auction earlier this year and it is heading into production this summer. Lunder produces alongside Grazer and Howard. It is the first of a slate of projects that Imagine is developing in-house under its independent model.
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Lunder has been at the forefront of building a diverse slate of films in-house, overseeing the joint venture with Animal Logic for animated and hybrid films while also growing the company’s pipeline of studio live action films. Priority projects include the Andrew Adamson-directed live action adaptation of Curious George, the David Gordon Green-directed feature reboot of Friday Night Lights and Tick, Tick…Boom!, an adaptation of an autobiographical play by the late Rent playwright Jonathan Larson, which will mark the feature directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Grazer and Howard said that Lunder “has been the driving force in expanding our film slate within our new independent model. She has great creative instincts and shares our values for the importance of talent relationships and storytelling. We are excited for what is to come under her leadership and vision.”
Said Lunder: “It’s an exciting time to be at Imagine and to be a part of such a powerhouse group of people. Imagine has long been an important home for filmmakers and talent and I’m thrilled to working with Brian and Ron to expand on the ways these exceptional storytellers can bring their ideas to the screen.”
Lunder came to Imagine from Filmnation Entertainment, where she was EVP of Production and helped build their production arm, serving as exec producer of the Denis Villeneuve-directed Academy Award nominated hit Arrival, the John Lee Hancock-directed The Founder starring Michael Keaton, and she produced Fox Searchlight’s Marc Webb-directed Gifted. She also developed and co-produced Gavin Hood’s 2016 political thriller Eye In The Sky. Lunder served previous stops at Gil Netter Productions and Landscape Entertainment.
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