Uni taking a first look with Reveille

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Ben Silverman's Reveille Llc., which is behind the television series "Ugly Betty" and "The Office," is launching a feature film division arm named Reveille Motion Pictures and has inked a first-look deal with Universal Pictures.

The new company will create, acquire and develop a broad slate, and will lean on Reveille's proven modus operandi, which has been finding fresh commercial ideas to develop for American audiences. "Betty" and "Office," for example, initially were television series in Colombia and England, respectively, before Reveille translated them for the U.S.

Graham Larson, who previously partnered with Seann William Scott at the actor's Universal-based Identity Films, will serve as vp at RMP. Larson's producing credits include "The Last Samurai" and "Gary the Tennis Coach." He also worked with Edward Zwick at the Bedford Falls Co.

Silverman plans to use Reveille's methods of alternative financing in television and online to bring in Reveille's different financing, marketing and cross-platform partners to the intellectual property franchises it will be producing theatrically. For example, the company has made it a point to cast ethnically and internationally diverse actors to appeal to the global market.

On the digital side, the company's webisodes for "Office" were instrumental in broadening the show's appeal, and Silverman thinks there is a lot of potential for creative digital uses in the feature world.

"We bring that digital element into what we are doing in the movie without damaging that event status of a motion picture," Silverman said. "I don't think any producers have really crafted the best way to do that other than just in the marketing of the movies a la 'The Blair Witch Project.' I think there's a lot more to do in that space."

The company plans to bring some of the ways television has worked with brands in order to mitigate risk to moviemaking.

"We can really help out partners from both sides to create more value and offset financing risk, whether it's in the P&A line in a budget or with how a film literally gets financed," Silverman said.

The company already is in the process of putting projects together. It has acquired a comedy from South America and a horror movie from Japan, and it has one script, a supernatural thriller, in early development with Universal-based Working Title.

However, "comedy is probably going to end up the place where we focus most our time and energy," Silverman said. "It's what we love and what is our demo and is a world where we have really deep relationships from across all the programming that we make."

Reveille, which already has a first-look deal with NBC, is based on the Universal lot. Its shows include "The Biggest Loser," "30 Days," "Blow Out," "Date My Mom" and "The Restaurant."
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