Paramount has named former New Line Cinema executive Daria Cercek and former 20th Century Studios executive Michael Ireland as co-presidents of production, reporting to Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group president Emma Watts. Ireland joined the studio in late November, and Cercek will begin her position effective January 11.
Deadline first reported in November that Ireland was in line for the job, along with the news Jeremy Kramer would run Paramount Players.
As co-presidents of Paramount Pictures, Cercek and Ireland will work alongside Watts to oversee the studio’s slate and film operations from development through production, including high-profile upcoming projects as the newest film in the Transformers and Star Trek franchises, Lost City of D, and a sequel to the hit Sonic the Hedgehog among others.
“I’m thrilled to be working again with both Daria and Mike. The key to success is having the right team, and having watched Daria and Mike grow over the years, I am quite confident their combined creativity, enthusiasm and extensive talent relationships will be a huge windfall for Paramount,” Watts said. “They believe passionately in people and projects which makes for better films.”
Cercek joins Paramount from New Line, where she served as EVP Production and Development. In her role, she oversaw a wide range of projects including Olivia Wilde’s next film Don’t Worry Darling (starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Olivia Wilde).
“I am absolutely over the moon to be joining the incredible team at Paramount, and working again with some of my most esteemed and beloved friends and colleagues,” Cercek said. “It is truly an honor to step into this role alongside Mike at such a historic studio, and to continue the legacy of making top notch movies with world class talent.”
Cercek was formerly SVP Production and Development at 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios), having risen through the ranks after starting as a creative executive in 2010. During her eight years there, she oversaw such films as The Heat, The Other Woman and Spy, as well as the last three films in the X-Men franchise. She was previously an executive for Scott Stuber when he had his production company at Universal, and prior to that worked for Paula Wagner during her time as CEO of United Artists.
She began her career as a literary assistant at William Morris in New York before shifting to the motion picture lit department at CAA.
Ireland, who graduated with a degree in screenwriting from USC, began his career as a network executive at MTV in 2003. He joined Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way in 2007, where he helped develop projects including The Wolf of Wall Street. He left Appian Way to join then-20th Century Fox in 2012, where he was most recently SVP Production and oversaw a slate of big-budget movies including the upcoming Ryan Reynolds action comedy Free Guy.
“I wanted to avoid saying I’m thrilled and excited because that’s what everyone says but I truly am thrilled and excited to be reunited with Emma, Jim [Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures] and Daria at Paramount,” Ireland said. “Like the studio itself, they have a history of embracing big ideas and taking risks on new talent. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel like I’m home.”
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