New practice for Dr. Heigl: film producer


Katherine Heigl, who already has navigated the transition from television to film, is ready to embark on a new role as producer.

Heigl and her manager and mother, Nancy Heigl, have formed a production shingle and set up an untitled action comedy at Fox 2000 that also will serve as an acting vehicle for the actress. Spyglass also is on board to produce the project, whose plot is being kept confidential.

An Emmy nominee this year for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," the younger Heigl became a bona fide film star with Universal Pictures' "Knocked Up," which has grossed more than $145 million domestically. But even before the film's release in June, she had been looking to get into producing, hoping to craft a project and work with writers.

That's when Bob Kosberg and David Simon, former writing partners, entered the picture. One night about a year ago, the two were tossing around ideas when Simon threw out a premise for an action comedy that caught Kosberg's attention. The two developed it together, and then Kosberg, a longtime producer based at Nash Entertainment, took it to Nash CEO Bruce Nash. After further developing the concept, Kosberg and Nash decided to attach an actress; hearing good prerelease buzz on "Knocked Up," they decided to target Heigl.

First, Kosberg and Nash pitched her agent, Paradigm's Norm Aladjem, who then opened to the door to a meeting with Heigl, who happened to be esconced at the Casa del Mar hotel in Santa Monica for a press junket.

So Kosberg met Heigl amid the junket setting. "I wasn't sure if she thought I was going to ask her a question about 'Knocked Up' or if she knew I was going to pitch her," Kosberg said. "I had done pitches in some pretty unique places, like elevators. but never in the middle of a press junket."

Heigl and her manager-mother sparked to the idea. The next step was to find the project a home, and the obvious choice was Fox 2000, where the actress was shooting "27 Dresses," which is scheduled for release in January. Spyglass, which was producing that romantic comedy, came on board the new project as well.

A search for writers is under way.

Rodney Ferrell is overseeing at Fox 2000. Kosberg and Nash will exec produce under the Nash Entertainment banner.

Paradigm, which reps the younger Heigl, packaged the film. In addition to her manager Nancy Heigl, the actress also is repped by attorney Stephen Barnes of Barnes Morris Klein Mark Yorn Barnes & Levine.