James Gandolfini signs exclusive producing deal with HBO

MUMBAI: Actor James Gandolfini, who stars in HBO's gangster saga The Sopranos, has signed a three-year exclusive producing deal with the US broadcaster.

The agreement marks the first overall production deal for Gandolfini, who along with his producing partner, former Paramount executive Alex Ryan, is simultaneously launching his production shingle, Attaboy Films. Under this exclusive producing arrangement, Gandolfini will develop and produce original television programming for HBO and will also have a first-look deal for feature projects at Picturehouse, HBO's specialty film distribution arm.

HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht says, "The Sopranos is a landmark in TV, and the gifted James Gandolfini is one of the reasons for the show's remarkable success. I am delighted that he will continue to work with the network after the end of the series."

Gandolfini and Ryan have spent the past year developing Hemingway, a biopic written by Barbara Turner, with Gandolfini playing the title role in the film. Philip Kaufman (Quills, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) is attached to direct the drama about the tempestuous romance between Hemingway and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Turner, whose screen credits include Pollock and Georgia, will produce along with Gandolfini, Ryan and Peter Kaufman. Gandolfini's managers, Nancy Sanders and Mark Armstrong, will be executive producers. The project is expected to continue development under Attaboy's new deal, which also includes a commitment to two pilot scripts.

Gandolfini and Ryan are also developing a documentary with HBO Documentary Films. The film, whose working title is Occupation Iraq, is about soldiers in Iraq and chronicles their stories, tragedies, triumphs and homecomings.

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