EXCLUSIVE: Investor and Tony Award-winning producer Kevin J. Kinsella (Jersey Boys) and actress Paten Hughes (Heirloom) have launched film and TV banner Cowboy + Cougar Entertainment.
Kinsella and Hughes will look to write and produce around 4-6 projects per year in the prestige and commercial spaces and will have the capacity to develop, package and finance. Already on the slate are books Confessions Of An Alien Hunter by astronomer Seth Shostak, which Cowboy + Cougar will adapt as a sci-fi TV series called Fermi’s Paradox, and Julia Oliver’s Goodbye To The Buttermilk Sky, which the company will adapt as a feature film.
The latter is a coming-of-age romantic drama in the vein of Bridges Over Madison County about a young woman, Callie, in Depression-era 1938 rural Alabama whose torrid affair with a handsome stranger jostles her life trajectory. Lily Houghton (Day By Day) is writing the adapted feature film script. Producers are Paten Hughes, Michael W. Gray and Michael Cuomo.
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Kinsella is teaming with Hook and Contact scribe Jim Hart on the script for Fermi’s Paradox, which will follow a brilliant young female astrophysicist, Fermi Jacobsen, as she discovers how to evade the speed of light, thus launching a scientific brawl between the U.S. and Russia to establish contact with a civilization in a remote part of the cosmos. Kinsella and Hughes are producing the series with Michael W Gray, Michael Cuomo and Untitled Entertainment’s Laura Rister.
Investor Kinsella, founder of Avalon Ventures, won the 2006 Tony Award for producing Broadway mega-hit musical Jersey Boys and partnered with Rhino Records in producing the Grammy Award-winning Jersey Boys Original Cast Recording. In 2012, he got a second Tony-nomination for Best Revival of a Musical for Jesus Christ Superstar and is an investor in the London production of Book Of Mormom. His investments over the years have ranged from wineries to pharma and food-stuffs.
Said Kinsella: “Through careful examination of the much-altered entertainment ecosystem, what stood out is an amazing opportunity to deliver stories that audiences are really responding to now. Most interesting to us are stories about ordinary people intersecting with challenges, physical or ethical, from which they have to pivot in order to move forward in a journey. These physical challenges, moral dilemmas, and similar situations are what audiences care about and can relate to most. If we deliver at the level we set our standards to in terms of creativity and execution, we believe that betting on ourselves will pay off and great stories will find their audiences.”
Hughes’ screen credits include web series Heirloom, which clocked up 4.5M online views before being licensed by Screen Media. Her film credits include Rebecca Eskris’ What Breaks The Ice and Chadd Harbold’s Long Nights Short Mornings. She recently appeared as Ivanka Trump in a viral satirical Twitter series entitled The Ivanka Diaries. She also has extensive theater credits behind her including Chekhov’s Three Sisters directed by Oliver Award-winner Eve Best and Halo/Titanic directed by David F. Chapman.
Added Hughes: “Kevin and I are thrilled to take on this exciting new endeavor together and work creatively and collaboratively to build something very special. While the film and television landscapes continue to shift before our eyes, this seems to us like the ideal time for a calculated DIY approach to championing strong material and bringing our creative visions to life. We are creators at heart and have projects we’ll develop and nurture carefully, but remain flexible in collaborating with various filmmakers, show-runners and distribution partners around the globe. The structure of our company reflects how the industry is working today. Nimble, hyper-creative, collaborative and lean.”
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