Paramount Names Daria Cercek, Michael Ireland as Co-Presidents Under Emma Watts
Michael Ireland and Daria Cercek (Courtesy of Paramount Pictures)
Paramount’s motion picture group president Emma Watts has bolstered her team with two new co-presidents — Daria Cercek and Michael Ireland.
Cercek comes from New Line Cinema and will start her post on Jan. 11. Ireland moved to the iconic Hollywood lot last November from 20th Century Studios.
As co-presidents of Paramount Pictures, Cercek and Ireland will work alongside Watts to oversee the slate and operations from development through production, including upcoming installments of the “Transformers” and “Star Trek” franchises. They’ll also work on Sandra Bullock’s “Lost City of D” and a sequel to the hit hybrid animation “Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Both former colleagues of Watts at Fox, the executive said she was “thrilled to be working again with both Daria and Mike. The key to success is having the right team, and having watched Daria and Mike grow over the years, I am quite confident their combined creativity, enthusiasm and extensive talent relationships will be a huge windfall for Paramount. They believe passionately in people and projects which makes for better films.”
At New Line, Cercek’s title was executive vice president of production and development. She oversaw a range of projects including Olivia Wilde’s next film “Don’t Worry Darling,” starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Chris Pine. At Fox, she served as SVP in the same role, working on titles like “The Heat” and the “X-Men” franchise. She’s also worked for current Netflix film honcho Scott Stuber and former United Artists CEO Paula Wagner, beginning her career as a lit assistant at William Morris and later at CAA.
“I am absolutely over the moon to be joining the incredible team at Paramount, and working again with some of my most esteemed and beloved friends and colleagues. It is truly an honor to step into this role alongside Mike at such a historic studio, and to continue the legacy of making top notch movies with world class talent,” she said.
Ireland graduated from USC with a degree in screenwriting, and began his career as a network executive at MTV in 2003. He joined Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way in 2007, where he helped develop films like “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
From Appian Way, he joined Fox where he was most recently senior vice president of production and oversaw the slate including the upcoming Ryan Reynolds action-comedy “Free Guy.”
“I wanted to avoid saying I’m thrilled and excited because that’s what everyone says but I truly am thrilled and excited to be reunited with Emma, Jim [Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures] and Daria at Paramount. Like the studio itself, they have a history of embracing big ideas and taking risks on new talent. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel like I’m home,” he said.
Variety's Matt Donnelly contributed to this post.