Producer weaves his way to Disney

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Producer Andrew Panay is venturing out of his role as a partner at Tapestry Films to sign a three-year exclusive deal that will see him developing and producing movies for Walt Disney Studios.

Panay will produce the feature projects via his unnamed studio-based shingle, which will add staffers. The deal is a homecoming of sorts for Panay, who began his career as an intern and assistant at Disney.

At Tapestry, Panay came up with the idea for "Wedding Crashers," producing the movie with partners Peter Abrams and Robert Levy. He also created the idea and produced Tapestry's comedy hit "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," starring Ryan Reynolds.

Last year, Panay and Tapestry produced the upcoming Thanksgiving comedy "Old Dogs," starring John Travolta and Robin Williams, then acted as a producer sans the company on the Kristen Bell comedy "When in Rome."

It was the experience on those two films that "just solidified my excitement to continue to make movies for (Disney)," Panay said.

"I really love making comedies of all sizes, and it's exciting to find a home where your comedic sensibilities really match," he said.

Said Kristin Burr, exec vp production at Disney Motion Picture Group: "Audiences love to laugh, and his involvement with such major comedy hits demonstrates his great instincts for hilarious material. Andrew comes full circle with this new arrangement, and we are confident that he will continue to make funny and crowd-pleasing films."

Panay also will continue to work on Tapestry projects with Abrams and Levy.

Other producing credits include comedies "Employee of the Month" and "The Comebacks." (partialdiff)
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