• Producing trio to bring Behrman memoir to the bigscreen

    December 9, 2003

    Tobey Maguire's production shingle, Maguire Entertainment, has joined Endgame Entertainment and Raw Entertainment to bring Andy Behrman's memoir "Electroboy" to the bigscreen.

    Maguire will produce the film and is eyeing the title role. Behrman's book is a turbulent spin through the life of a 28-year-old manic-depressive art forger and con man, chronicling his sexual escapades, drug binges and treatment with electroshock therapy.

    "Andy Behrman's memoir depicts a man whose illness puts him in the center of the maelstrom that was the '90s," Endgame head Jim Stern said. The film, he added, "has the ability to be both commercial and to operate at a larger level."

    Endgame optioned "Electroboy" in March. Stern will produce with Endgame production head Julia Eisenman, who brought the property to the company, and Brian Oliver and Joseph Nittolo of Raw Entertainment, a musicvid, commercials and feature production shingle.

    Matthew Chapman ("Runaway Jury") is writing the script. Pic, which could have a budget north of $25 million, is expected to start production over the summer.

    That would square with Maguire's schedule. The actor is expected to be available following completion of "Spider-Man 2," which is in post-production.

    Maguire is producing "Justice Deffered," for Warner Bros. and previously exec produced "Seabiscuit" for Uni and produced "The 25th Hour" for Disney.

    Endgame is co-financing "Proof," now in post at Miramax Films. Shingle also is co-financing "Five Children and It" with the Henson Co. and Capitol Films; "Compleat Female Stage Beauty" with Tribeca Prods. and Artisan; and "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" with Senator and New Line.

    Maguire is repped by CAA and Management 360.

  • 'Proof' partner in the pudding

    October 23, 2003

    Miramax Films has brought on co-financing partner Endgame Entertainment to help shoulder the costs of its adaptation of David Auburn's prize-winning Broadway play "Proof," starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis and Jake Gyllenhaal.

    Endgame was founded by Jim Stern, a film and theater producer who has producing credits on more than 20 Broadway shows, including "The Producers" and "Hairspray."

    "Proof," which has a budget north of $20 million, is now shooting in London. Pic is more than midway through principal photography.

    John Madden is directing "Proof" from a script by Rebecca Miller and Auburn. John Hart, Jeffrey Sharp and Robert Kessel are producing through Hart Sharp Entertainment. Alison Owen is also a producer and Mark Cooper is a co-producer. Stern is an exec producer. Play concerns the daughter of a recently deceased mathematician dealing with her father's life and legacy.

    "The chance to finance a film with this incredible array of talent is the core reason I founded Endgame and I could not be more pleased that we are able to play such a significant role in the production of 'Proof,' " Stern said.

    Endgame opened an L.A. office earlier this year. The firm also is co-financing "Five Children and It," with the Henson Co. and Capitol Films; "Compleat Female Stage Beauty," with Tribeca Pictures and Artisan Entertainment; and "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," with Senator and New Line.

    Stern also directed "Michael Jordan to the Max" and "It's the Rage."

    "Proof," which ended its Broadway run last January after 918 performances and 16 previews, was one of the longest running Broadway plays in nearly two decades. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony for best play.

  • Herwitz to consult for Endgame

    September 11, 2003

    HOLLYWOOD -- Andrew Herwitz, president of New York-based sales entity the Film Sales Co., will serve as an independent consultant for Jim Stern's indie shingle Endgame Entertainment.

    Herwitz, who founded his shingle after six years at Miramax, where he had served as co-head of acquisitions, will scout material for Endgame's fund for development and production financing, structure co-financing and production opportunities and advise on sales strategies.

    "Andrew is a super-smart guy who knows the industry and can evaluate opportunities both creatively and financially," said Stern. "This combined with his great relationships in New York and the U.K. make him the perfect addition to our team."

    Endgame is currently co-financing "Five Children and It" in partnership with the Henson Co. and the U.K.'s Capitol Films, "Compleat Female Stage Beauty" with Tribeca Pictures and Artisan Entertainment and "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" with Senator Intl. and New Line.

  • Endgame puts up coin for 'It' pic

    July 22, 2003

    Jim Stern's Endgame Entertainment has become co-financier of "Five Children and It," an adaptation of the Edith Nesbit novel that just started production.

    Endgame will share the cost with U.K.'s Capitol Films and will hold North American distrib rights on the film, which stars Kenneth Branagh, Zoe Wanamaker and Freddie Highmore, with Eddie Izzard providing the voice of creature It.

    John Stephenson ("Animal Farm") is directing David Solomon's script, and Lisa Henson and Nick Hirschkorn are producing. Capitol's Sharon Harel and Jane Barclay seeded the production.

    The film follows the adventures of five London kids during WWI as they are sent to live with an eccentric uncle (Branagh) in his dilapidated mansion by the sea. There the kids encounter a wish-granting sand fairy.

    Stern, part owner of the Chicago Bulls and Tony-winning producer of "The Producers" and "Hairspray," said the book's subject matter and script made "Five Children and It" an irresistible investment.

    "It is a commercial film with a chance to break out," Stern said. "What it shares with other children's films based on literature that do well is that the heroes are kids who survive through their wits. It's not 'Harry Potter,' but the book was an influence on its author, J.K. Rowling. There is merchandising and DVD potential as well."

    Stern wasn't sure if Endgame would make an early U.S. distrib deal or wait until the film is shot. The company also contributed financing for the Artisan pic "Compleat Female Stage Beauty" and the New Line/Senator comedy "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," but those investments were bridge loans.

    Engdame will continue to provide financing as it readies the eight homegrown projects it has in development.

  • Producer Bullish on pix

    March 12, 2003

    After collecting six championship rings as part owner of the Chicago Bulls and a Tony Award as a producer and financier of "The Producers," James D. Stern is ready to join the growing list of entrepreneurs who are investing in movies.

    Stern has formed Endgame Entertainment, a production and financing venture that kicks off with the acquisition of "Electroboy," Andy Behrman's bestselling memoir of a bipolar overachiever who flourished and fell during the 1990s. Matthew Chapman ("Grave Goods") is writing the script. Stern is also directing and producing a documentary chronicling the integration of Chinese hoops star Yao Ming into the National Basketball Assn.

    Endgame has two components: a development and acquisitions company that will be headed by president of production Julia Eisenman, the former president of Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures; and the Endgame Fund, a financing source that will provide coin for 15 movies over the next three years, either self-generated or from third-party producers. Endgame's money maneuvers will be supervised by Doug Hansen, a veteran of the entertainment departments of Union Bank and Banque Paribas.

    Unlike most of the financial angels descending onto the film landscape, Stern knows his way around a camera. He directed and produced "Michael Jordan to the Max," a film that brought Jordan's larger-than-life highlights to the Imax screen. Stern also produced and directed "It's the Rage," a film that starred Joan Allen and Gary Sinise. And he's helming the Yao project, a co-production between Endgame and NBA Entertainment.

    "We began at the NBA draft last June and have had complete access and taken wonderful footage," Stern said. "This is more than a film about a basketball player. It's how Yao has fit into a new environment while creating a bridge between two cultures. He's a metaphor for China's emergence on the geopolitical stage, in areas from politics to finance."

    B'way producer

    Stern also was a producer and financier of the stage hits "Hairspray" and "Stomp." He acknowledges that being a producer of "The Producers" is an interesting calling card, even though the musical is about a theatrical producer who swindles investors.

    "Endgame is being supported by myself as much as other individual investors," Stern said. "Unlike Max Bialystock, I don't know how to get into any game without putting my own money in. I'd also like to think that I wouldn't look good in pinstripes."

    Stern's family made its fortune manufacturing health care projects such as a rotating showerhead, and another company that invested in hedge funds. He parlayed that into becoming one of the limited partners in the Bulls and seeding stage shows. He noticed a similar need for financing in Hollywood as conglomerates are curtailing studio spending and other money outlets withered. He came to L.A., met everyone and flirted with funding a project or two before walking away from the table. He said he's ready now to deal.

    Need for capital

    "The thing that was impressed upon me is how capital is in such short supply, how the implosion of the German markets and the constriction of the banking industry created a need," he said. "I've done several things in the past that made people money and thought if I could put together capital to allocate to productions and late-stage completion financing, that might put me ahead of the curve."

    Stern said a studio alliance is a possibility, and he wouldn't disclose how much capital he'll spend over the three-year period.

    "We are coming to the table to put up chips," Stern said. "I'm not playing this game to spend money for a few years and do something else. I've always planned ahead. I've already got it in my will that my kids can sell the Tony, but not the championship rings. I've directed three films. This is what I want to do."