Loss of principals clouds Mirage slate

Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella leave work in limbo

Monday's death of Sydney Pollack has thrown the many projects his company, Mirage Enterprises, was developing into limbo.

Mirage finds itself in an unusual situation: Pollack was a principal in the company with Anthony Minghella, who died March 18, and few companies have faced the death of two partners in such a short period of time, leaving not only the question of what happens to their titles but also what becomes of the company.

Other companies that have lost partners have soldiered on -- even thrived -- after the death of a partner (witness Jerry Bruckheimer Films after Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films).

Insiders said Mirage projects -- those that are not partnered with other producers -- might find themselves under the wings of Pollack's agents at CAA and his family, who might try to keep them going. Another scenario is that Pollack's daughter Rebecca, who was an executive at United Artists, takes over.

"We're all flying a little blind right now," said one person close to Pollack's camp and involved in several projects.

Mirage, which has offices in Los Angeles and London, has a first-look deal at the Weinstein Co., and the company has said that it is intent on moving forward on those projects, including "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," which is going ahead at HBO.

Mirage's docket at the Weinstein Co. also includes the high-profile remake of German Oscar-winner "The Lives of Others" as well as the adaptation of Allison Pearson's novel "I Don't Know How She Does It." The latter has David Frankel ("Marley & Me") attached to direct; it recently bought Aline Brosh McKenna on board to do a rewrite.

Other projects, most of which are book adaptations or international-flavored thrillers, include:

-- "The Ninth Life of Louis Drax," which Minghella adapted based on a novel by Liz Jensen.

-- "The Silver Lining Playbook" an adaptation of a Matthew M. Quick book that Pollack was producing with Michelle Raimo.

-- "Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand," an adaptation of a children's fantasy novel that sees the Weinstein Co. sharing the project with Miramax. Sources said "Bartimaeus" had been dormant for a while.

-- At Miramax, Mirage was working on "The Resurrectionists," based on the novel by Michael Collins. Minghella had been attached to direct; the project was put on hold when he died.

-- "Colombian Gold" is set up at Focus, with Mirage producing with Miguel Arteta's Flan de Coco Films shingle. Arteta also was attached to direct the murder mystery.

-- "Liberty," a thriller set in Haiti, is set up at Intermedia Films with Jez Butterworth directing.

-- Mirage also was producing "Turbulence" at Universal, home of Pollack's last big studio picture, "The Interpreter." Tom Pabst is writing the internationally set thriller.