What do you do after your movie wins the Oscar for best picture?
If you're Bob Cooper, the former head of production at DreamWorks SKG, and the movie was "American Beauty," you start your own company.
"After so many years of developing content for others, you finally want to have some control over your own destiny," said Cooper, who founded Landmark Entertainment earlier this year.
Cooper made his mark during a seven-year run, from 1991 to 1998, at HBO, where he pioneered a new form of TV movie that was considered far superior to the made-for-television movies produced by the networks. They included "The Band Played On," "Barbarians at the Gate" and "The Josephine Baker Story." He left to become president of TriStar Pictures, where he oversaw the production of "As Good As It Gets," "The Mask of Zorro" and "My Best Friend's Wedding." After only a year at TriStar, he left for DreamWorks.
Currently, he has TV movie deals with FX and NBC.
A year from now, Cooper said, he hopes to have one miniseries in the works, a theatrical film rolling and Internet programming up and running. For the Internet, he is planning a series of three- to five-minute episodic shorts. The material will be produced by his Web division, EzFlix, and distributed on the MP3.com Web site marking MP3.com's first venture into original content.
According to the plan, there will be 55 episodes. Among the veteran writers involved are Larry Gelbart, executive producer of the TV series "M*A*S*H," David Cronenberg and Zak Penn.
"The Internet is young and new and open-ended, but that doesn't mean amateur night," said Cooper. "You need disciplined writers to adapt to the new medium."
What's the key to his knack for picking great projects? The Canadian-born executive said it's related to the fact that he considers himself an outsider. "I always felt out of the mainstream, and if you are, you find material that is fresh and unusual," he said.
So whatever happened to Philip Michael Thomas, who co-starred in NBC's "Miami Vice"? His former partner Don Johnson has had his own TV series on CBS and a sometime movie career, while Thomas has simply been making a few obscure films while living in Miami. But he's back.
According to a full-page blurb in the Hollywood trades, Thomas is returning to the small screen in "Miami," a new weekly one-hour drama set in his hometown. "Get ready Tubbs (his character in 'Miami Vice') is back," the ad screams.
Shooting is supposed to be underway, but a call to the production office of US1 Entertainment disclosed that production has been delayed until August for a September delivery of the series. That's cutting it more than a little close.
In recent years, the 51-year-old Thomas has made a series of low-budget films, including the upcoming horror film "Vampirates" and the 1993 crime drama "Miami Shakedown."
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