King puts initials on new empire

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Oscar-winning producer Graham King has launched his own production banner, GK Films, securing a three-year, first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures for the startup. He also has re-upped his existing production pact with Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil, King said.

The new deal gives Warners a first-look option on films produced under the GK Films moniker, which will include Infinitum titles. King, whose "The Departed" won the best picture Oscar this year, will remain a principal in Initial Entertainment Group, whose titles also will be included in the three-year Warners deal.

The British-born, Los Angeles-based producer said in an interview that he wanted to establish the new production label "to concentrate on making movies."

He said he also would keep a hand in Initial and is talking with the group about a potential deal on international sales duties on the GK slate.

King will be partnered in GK Films with longtime collaborator and finance whiz Tim Headington, who will work on financing pictures on a case-by-case basis.

Three titles will mark the birth of GK Films.

"Shantaram" will be produced for Warners in conjunction with Infinitum and Brad Pitt's Paramount-based Plan B. A starring vehicle for Depp from a script by Eric Roth for director Mira Nair, "Shantaram" is based on the novel by Gregory David Roberts.

Martin Scorsese's "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" will be produced by King for Warners. Based on the New York Times best-seller by Brian Selznick, the film will have a script penned by Oscar nominee John Logan ("The Aviator").

First up for GK Films is Jean-Marc Vallee's "The Young Victoria," which stars Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt. Detailing the early life and rise to power of Britain's Queen Victoria, the film is scheduled to lens in August on location in the U.K.

Initial Entertainment Group, on behalf of GK Films, is repping it in Cannes to international sellers.

King's move comes hot on the heels of a deal that saw Initial co-founder Colin Cotter form a full-service film production and finance company called Continental Entertainment Group with financial services company Citi (HR 5/19).

King's current creative executive team, headed by production president Gail Lyon, vp production Grey Rembert and production exec Denis O'Sullivan, will continue to report to King "as they develop and guide his GK Films slate."
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