One of the most powerful writing and producing teams in Hollywood is parting ways.
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have been an inescapable presence in American blockbuster cinema for nearly a decade, now, with their hands in tentpole franchises from Star Trek to Transformers to The Amazing Spider-Man. They've worked together -- often alongside fellow heavyweights like J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof -- on some of the most lucrative film and TV properties of the past decade, but after more than 15 years (they first collaborated on episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in the late '90s), it looks like their collaboration is coming to an end.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today that Orci and Kurtzman have stopped working on films together, though the TV side of their production company K/O Paper Products, which is set up at CBS TV at the moment, "will remain intact for the time being." As for why the pair split up, THR cites "insiders" who report that the two men have simply been devoting their focus more and more to separate franchises, and that the split is "amicable" and "has been brewing for some time." Variety's report on the split also confirms this.
So, how are the pair dividing the projects they were previously working on together? Well, according to Variety, Orci is "laser focused" on Star Trek 3 at the moment, and is even lobbying to make the film his directorial debut. Producers Abrams and David Ellison have reportedly given Orci their blessing to direct the flick, but according to Variety, Paramount's still uncertain about the decision. As for Kurtzman, he'll be continuing work as director of the Amazing Spider-Man spinoff, Venom, which he also co-wrote with Orci and Ed Solomon, and he's reportedly also negotiating a "solo deal" to continue work on the previously announced reboots of The Mummy and Van Helsing at Universal Pictures. On the TV side, Orci and Kurtzman remain co-creators and executive producers of the Fox hit Sleepy Hollow, as well as executive producers of the CBS procedural Hawaii Five-O. They've also got two pilots -- Identity at The CW and Scorpion at CBS -- in the works and an upcoming new series, Matador, on Robert Rodriguez's recently launched El Rey Network.
With a number of developing projects already in play, and some scripts already co-written, it's unclear just how much each will have to do with the other's already-begun work going forward. We'll likely still see Orci's name on some of Kurtzman's film projects, and vice versa, for a while. From this point on, though, it looks like they're done working together, at least on the film side of things. It's definitely the end of an era in blockbuster film, for better or worse, but it's clear neither Orci nor Kurtzman is slowing down.