George Clooney’s Smoke House signs first-look deal with WB

BURBANK, Calif. USA–(Business Wire)– George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s newly formed production company, Smoke House, has signed a long-term production and development agreement with Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Television, it was announced July 20th  by Jeff Robinov, President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Peter Roth, President, Warner Bros. Television.

Smoke House will have first-look agreements with the feature film and television divisions.

Smoke House builds on the successful partnership Clooney and Heslov developed at Section Eight, the Warner Bros.-based production company started by Clooney and Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh.

 In 2005, Clooney and Heslov co-wrote ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ which Clooney directed and Heslov produced. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

“George and Grant are both gifted filmmakers in their own right; put them together and they become an incomparable force,” said Robinov. “We are proud to support them in this new endeavor and look forward to collaborating with them on many films to come.”

“George and Grant are two of the most respected and admired talents in our industry,” said Peter Roth, President, Warner Bros. Television. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with them and look forward to developing many successful television projects with their new company.”

Clooney and Soderbergh first formed Section Eight in 2000, signing a first-look deal with Warner Bros. The company went on to produce such films as ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ with Jerry Weintraub, ‘Syriana’ and ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ as well as two television series for HBO, ‘Unscripted’ and ‘K Street.’

Multi-hyphenate Clooney has risen in his career from a lead on the long-running Warner Bros. Television series “ER” to breakout in such films as ‘Out of Sight’ for director Soderbergh, and Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ for which he received a Golden Globe Award.

Most recently he appeared in an extraordinary ensemble cast in the critically-acclaimed ‘Syriana,’ for which he garnered the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He has also executive-produced an array of movies from ‘Insomnia’ to ‘Far From Heaven,’ among numerous films via Section Eight.

Clooney stepped behind the camera for the first time with ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’ in 2002 and went on to direct and star in ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ which he co-wrote with Heslov. The duo earned an Academy Award nomination for their original screenplay.

Heslov joined Section Eight five years ago as a development executive for the film division. He subsequently became president of Section Eight Television, where he served as an executive producer with Clooney and Soderbergh on the Washington lobbyist satire ‘K Street’ and the critical favorite ‘Unscripted,’ which followed three struggling actors in Hollywood. Collaborating with Clooney, he co-wrote and produced ‘Good Night, And Good Luck.’

The Producer’s Guild of America honored Heslov with the Stanley Kramer Award for producing the film, and he and Clooney received the Paul Selvin Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for their screenplay. In addition to its Oscar nods, ‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ also earned the Best Film honor from the National Board of Review.

The existing Section Eight film slate will continue to be produced by Soderbergh and Section Eight president Jennifer Fox. The Smoke House deal will extend the relationship between Clooney and Heslov and Warner Bros. through 2009.

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