Wolfgang Petersen Set to Develop The Perfect Storm for Warner Bros.

January 29, 1998

Director Wolfgang Petersen has been signed to develop ``The Perfect Storm'' for Warner Bros.

The film will be produced by Paula Weinstein, Petersen and his partner, Gail Katz; Barry Levinson is executive producing. The announcement was made Thursday by Bill Gerber and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, presidents of worldwide theatrical production for Warner Bros.

``The Perfect Storm'' will be adapted from the book of the same name by Sebastian Junger, which has spent 35 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. The nonfiction book tells the story of a momentous nor'easter, a 1991 storm that had a devastating effect on a crew of Gloucester, Mass., fishermen. A writer has not yet been selected to adapt the material for the screen.

Petersen most recently directed and produced, with Katz, the summer smash hit ``Air Force One,'' starring Harrison Ford, Glenn Close and Gary Oldman, and the medical thriller ``Outbreak,'' starring Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman and Rene Russo.

Petersen also directed the hit suspense thriller ``In the Line of Fire,'' starring Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich and Rene Russo, which received three Academy Award nominations and was executive produced by Katz and Petersen.

Through their production company, Radiant Productions, Petersen and Katz executive produced the recent film ``Red Corner'' and the upcoming ``Instinct,'' starring Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr. under Jon Turtletaub's direction.

Petersen was nominated for a Best Director Academy Award in 1982 for the German-language film ``Das Boot,'' which also earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay Adaptation. The picture earned a total of six Academy Award nominations and was the highest-grossing foreign-language film ever released in the United States.

Petersen first gained international notice with ``The Consequence.'' In addition to ``Das Boot,'' he wrote and directed ``The Neverending Story,'' and directed ``Enemy Mine'' before relocating to the United States, where he wrote and directed ``Shattered.''

Katz is president of Radiant Productions and was Petersen's producing partner on ``Air Force One'' and ``Outbreak.'' She also executive produced ``In the Line of Fire'' and co-produced ``Shattered.''

Katz recently executive produced ``Red Corner'' and is currently executive producing ``Mighty Joe Young,'' starring Bill Paxton and Charlize Theron and directed by Ron Underwood, as well as ``Lost Man,'' starring Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr. and directed by Jon Turtletaub.

Weinstein joined Warner Bros. as vice president of production in 1976, and later enlisted with 20th Century Fox as senior vice president of worldwide production, developing and producing such films as ``Nine to Five'' and ``Brubaker.''

In 1979, she relocated to The Ladd Co., collaborating on such films as ``Body Heat,'' Lawrence Kasdan's directorial debut. Weinstein later moved to United Artists as president of the Motion Pictures division, where she supervised all productions.

In 1984, Weinstein started WW Productions in partnership with Gareth Wigan that, among other projects, produced ``American Flyers'' for Warner Bros.

In 1987, she also assumed the title of executive consultant to MGM's worldwide division, which allowed her to continue producing independent projects such as ``A Dry White Season'' (for which Marlon Brando was nominated for an Academy Award) and ``The Fabulous Baker Boys,'' nominated for four Academy Awards, which she jointly produced with Mirage Productions in 1989.

In 1990, Weinstein and Mark Rosenberg created Spring Creek Productions. Their first produced feature film was ``Fearless,'' directed by Peter Weir, which earned Rosie Perez an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress.

Spring Creek's second film was ``Flesh and Bone,'' written and directed by Steve Kloves and starring Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and James Caan. Weinstein and Rosenberg also executive produced the HBO telefilm ``Citizen Cohn,'' which won four Emmy Awards, three Cable ACE Awards and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.

In 1993, Spring Creek executive produced ``House of the Spirits,'' based on the Isabel Allende novel. Weinstein also executive produced the Emmy Award-winning ``Truman,'' starring Gary Sinise and directed by Frank Pierson for HBO Films.

Weinstein and Levinson have recently partnered, with ``The Perfect Storm'' marking one of their first joint projects.

Levinson was awarded the 1988 Best Director Oscar for ``Rain Man,'' starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. ``Rain Man'' also won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Screenplay.

In 1987, Levinson directed Robin Williams in the comedy ``Good Morning Vietnam,'' which became one of the year's most acclaimed and popular movies. In 1991, ``Bugsy,'' which Levinson directed and produced, was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Levinson has used his home town of Baltimore as the setting for three widely praised features: ``Diner,'' ``Tin Men'' and ``Avalon.''

As a screenwriter, Levinson has received three Academy Award nominations, for ``...And Justice For All,'' ``Diner'' and ``Avalon.'' Levinson's other directorial credits include ``The Natural,'' ``Young Sherlock Holmes,'' ``Toys'' (co-written with Valerie Curtin) and ``Jimmy Hollywood,'' which he also wrote and produced.

More recently, Levinson directed Warner Bros.' film version of Michael Crichton's novel ``Disclosure,'' and directed and wrote the screen version (also for Warner Bros.) of Lorenzo Carcaterra's controversial book ``Sleepers.''

Just prior to beginning work on ``Sphere,'' Levinson directed the political satire ``Wag the Dog,'' starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, which earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy, a Best Screenplay nomination and a Best Actor -- Musical or Comedy nomination for Hoffman.

Levinson produced the Robert Redford-directed feature ``Quiz Show,'' which was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. Last year, he produced the critically lauded hard-hitting drama ``Donnie Brasco,'' starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.

Contact Info: