EXCLUSIVE: Producer Mark Gordon has launched Mark Gordon Pictures, a new production venture that is backed by EOne. Gordon has put together a staff of producers to create new film and TV productions and continue to shepherd the ones he already had in the works. Part of the plan is to expand into theater in the U.S. and U.K.
Gordon exited as president of EOne in June, 2019, this after selling to EOne 51% of the Mark Gordon Co. in 2015 for $133 Million, and the remaining 49% of The Mark Gordon Co. for $209 million in January 2018. Gordon has a long track record as a hit making producer of such TV shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Ray Donovan and Criminal Minds, and for eOne Designated Survivor and the Nathan Fillion-starrer The Rookie. Gordon’s long list of movie credits includes Saving Private Ryan, Speed, Murder on the Orient Express, The Messenger, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The Patriot, and many others.
“I loved my time [at EOne], it was educational and a different way of seeing the world, but I’m a producer and my heart and love is in developing material and working with writers and directors and other producers and telling stories,” Gordon told Deadline. “It just got to the point where I was so busy running a company and I really missed getting my hands dirty and being in the room you need to spend developing and making these things. As opposed to supervising other people developing and making them. Even running the company I was hands on especially in the editing room where I spend a lot of time on the television and movie side. But I missed doing this and they were kind enough to see I was missing my love. They said great, we want you to be here with us; just do it as a producer as opposed to running the division. I spent time figuring out how to put a company together that was not as traditional as most places and what the landscape of the business was going to look like and how it is changing.”
Gordon will clearly be emphasizing diversity both in new projects but especially in the makeup of his staff of producers.
“I brought in these wonderful people, they all happen to be women and they’re all producers within the company,” he said. “We’re small, there are ten of us, in New York, LA and London. It took me time to find what I think will be an incredibly collaborative group, people whose enthusiasm and taste I connected with.”
Along with the outposts in L.A. New York and London, Mark Gordon Pictures starts with a significant in-house development fund. Gordon said he was letting some of the new projects percolate before describing them, but said that among the artists who’ll be central to them are Kwame Kwei-Armah, the prolific playwright who is artistic director of London’s Young Vic Theater, the Colombian filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia (Last Days In the Desert), and Misty Copeland, the first Black female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre who starred in The Nutcracker, which Gordon produced, Black Eyed Peas lead member Will.I.Am, McMafia producer Tally Garner, and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser.
The creative team will be led by Bibby Dunn, who’ll head the LA office. Bibby has worked for Gordon the past seven years, moving from his production company to eOne when Gordon sold them his company and took the role of president. She was Vice President of Development for the studio, working on shows such as The Rookie (ABC), Deputy (FOX) and Cruel Summer (Freeform).
Joining her in LA is Katie Myers, who had been Manager of Scripted Programming at NBCUniversal International Studios, overseeing development across their US, UK and Canadian based production companies. She previously worked at Universal Content Productions (UCP).
The London office will be headed by Beth Pattinson, who began her career at Independent Talent before joining film producer Uberto Pasolini at Redwave Films. She worked for BBC Films as a Development Editor where her feature film credits include Philomena and We Need to Talk About Kevin. She was exec producer of Brooklyn, London Road and Swallow & Amazons. She moved to Amazon to head development of European Original Dramas, working on projects including A Very English Scandal and Beat, before working at Blueprint Pictures and Cuba Films & TV. She joined Gordon in January.
Also in London will be Bonnie-Chance Roberts, who had been Head of Film for Monumental Pictures, where productions she worked on included Bridget Jones’s Baby, Mary Queen of Scots and Cats. She produced How to Build A Girl.
Heading New York is Jessica Chase, who was previously the Artistic Producer of MCC Theater where she worked for nine years. There she developed and produced numerous plays and musicals by writers that include Jocelyn Bioh, Matthew Lopez, Jen Silverman, C.A. Johnson and John Pollono. She also was integral in opening the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.
Many of the projects Gordon was developing when he sold his company to eOne. The TV projects include:
Anonymous Girl, a TV series adaptation of the bestseller, with Josh Goldin & Rachel Abramowitz (Prison Break) the writer/Eps; Marching Powder, a series based on the Rusty Young memoir of a British drug dealer’s five years inside a Bolivian prison, with Christal Henry (Watchmen) the writer who’ll be EP along with star Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gordon and Danielle Reardon; and Narnia, an adaptation of the CS Lewis fantasy novels that is set at Netflix and has Coco scribe Matt Aldrich adapting as both a TV and film project. There is also the six-part miniseries Little Deaths, an adaptation of the Emma Flint novel that Hania Elkington (The Innocents) is writing and exec producing with Gordon and Tally Garner, about a woman accused and tried for the murders of her two children in Queens NYC in 1965.
Also percolating is the series The Pole for SyFy with Matthew Bass & Theodore Bressman as writers/EPs, to premiere next spring an animated comedy about Santa and the Clauses and what they do on the other 364 days of the year.
The film projects include the Chris Pratt-starrer Cowboy Ninja Viking for Universal, based on the comic book by A.J. Lieberman and Riley Rossmo; Blood’s A Rover, an adaptation of the James Ellroy novel with script by Iron Man scribes Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby; In Harm’s Way, with script by Doug Stanton, who authored the book on the attempt to undo the court martial of the commander of the USS Indianapolis, sunk by a Japanese sub after it delivered components of the atomic bomb on a secret mission, with hundreds of sailors torn to shreds by sharks as they waited four days for rescue; The Tunnels, a Patrick Vollrath-directed co-production with FilmNation based on the Greg Mitchell book about escapes under the Berlin Wall before the Iron Curtain closed tightly; Come From Away, an adaptation of the Tony-nominated musical that Chris Ashley will direct from Irene Sankoff & David Hein script about 38 planes and all their passengers being grounded in Newfoundland on 9/11.
Completed pictures include Death on the Nile, the Kenneth Branagh-directed sequel for 20th Century Studios now slated for October release; Awake, the Netflix film that Mark Raso directed drama that stars Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Barry Pepper. It will be released early next year; Die In A Gunfight, the Collin Schiffli-directed drama that stars Alexandra Daddario, Diego Boneta and Helen Hunt; and on a fast track are several films including the Cynthia Wade & Sharon Liese-directed docu The Flag Makers; and the Anne Hathaway-starrer Sesame Street that Jonathan Krisel will direct for Warner Bros next year.
The stage initiative gets underway with an adaptation of the 2007 Tom McCarthy-directed hit The Visitor. The musical is written by Kwame Kwei-Armah and was supposed to premiere at the Public Theater but was placed on hold due to the coronavirus shutdown. Tom Kitt is the composer, and Brian Yorkey wrote lyrics and was the co-book writer, with Daniel Sullivan directing the musical.