Parkes, MacDonald extend with D'Works

Duo lands new two-year, first-look deal

The new DreamWorks Studios has begun staffing up its producing roster, extending the tenures of mainstays Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald by signing them to a new two-year, first-look deal.

The producers and former DW co-presidents have often been the caretakers of DW principal Steven Spielberg's directing projects, including "Catch Me If You Can," "Minority Report" and "The Terminal." Parkes and MacDonald also shepherded "Gladiator," "Men in Black," "The Kite Runner" and "Sweeney Todd" for the studio.

As the first producers brought into DreamWorks' new Reliance Big Entertainment-backed venture, Parkes and MacDonald are running point on several of the projects taken along after the studio's recent split from Paramount. Among these are the Oni Press graphic novel adaptation "The Damned"; the Jay Roach-directed comedy "Dinner for Schmucks"; the Billy Ray-scripted thriller "Motorcade"; the Western "St. Agnes' Stand"; and the biopic "The Trial of the Chicago 7," which has several high-profile directors, including Ben Stiller, circling it.

"We've been fortunate to call DreamWorks our home for 14 years and couldn't be more pleased to be part of the company's newest incarnation," Parkes and MacDonald said.

"Walter and Laurie, aside from being personal and family friends, have been a cornerstone of this company since its inception," Spielberg said. "I am pleased and proud for their continuing association as independent producers with the highest degree of taste and determination."

Montecito Pictures, formerly part of the DreamWorks fold, stayed on at Paramount following the studios' separation. Other production entities at the old Paramount-housed DW remain thus-far unclaimed: Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films, Nina Jacobson's Color Force and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci's K/O Prods. DreamWorks took on three K/O projects -- "Cowboys and Aliens," "Deep Sea Cowboy" and "Atlantis Rising" -- so Kurtzman and Orci seem a likely next addition to the roster.

The CAA-repped Parkes and MacDonald next have the thriller "The Uninvited" releasing in January.