The New York Times' former film critic is following the occasionally-beaten path—again—and going to work for Hollywood. Back in 1992, Mitchell took a post at Paramount and lasted six months. Now he and producer Deborah Schindler will run Columbia Pictures' East Coast office, "marking an important expansion of the studio's operations here," Columbia execs say in today's New York Daily News.
Mitchell, who exited The Times last spring, has been charged with canvassing the film festival circuit for movie projects. He also will be probing the Columbia film library for possible remakes, the studio said.
"He literally knows everybody," said Mark Urman, president of distribution at independent film company ThinkFilm. But a rival studio exec said, "it remains to be seen" what Mitchell - who held a brief post at Paramount Pictures years ago - can add to Columbia.
Mitchell's appointment follows a four-year stint at The Times. He left the paper after his colleague, A.O. Scott, was named lead film critic.
Peter Bart, the editor of Variety, made the transition from NYT staff to studio honcho a long time ago. The New York Times' current movie editor, Michael Cieply, left a previous life at the L.A. Times to become a Hollywood producer before returning to journalism. Mitchell, who departed the NYT under rancorous circumstances last year, hosts The Treatment each Wednesday on KCRW. (* Annette Bening is this week's guest, 2:30 p.m. at FM 89.9.)