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Head of Studio at Sony Quits to Produce

October 03, 2003|Claudia Eller | Times Staff Writer

Sony Pictures Entertainment confirmed Thursday that its chairman and chief executive, John Calley, resigned his post, as expected, and became a producer at the Culver City studio he had headed for the last seven years.

Calley, 73, will remain on Sony's operating committee and board of directors. The trio of Columbia Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal; Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution; and Yair Landau, head of Sony Pictures Digital, who were named vice chairmen of Sony Pictures Entertainment last October, will continue to manage the studio. They will now report directly to Sony Corp. of America's New York-based chairman, Howard Stringer.

In another executive shuffle, studio sources confirmed that Columbia Pictures President Peter Schlessel was expected to vacate his job before the end of the year.

Sony representatives declined to comment on Schlessel's exit.

Schlessel, who has held his current post since January, was previously the studio's production president, and before that had co-headed Screen Gems, Sony's specialty film unit.

Calley's first film projects for Sony will be an adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller thriller, "The Da Vinci Code," which will reunite director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, both of Imagine Entertainment, with "A Beautiful Mind" screenwriter Akiva Goldsman; and "Closer," based on Patrick Marber's acclaimed play. Calley's close friend Mike Nichols is expected to direct "Closer."

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