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Miramax's New Signs of the Times

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Miramax’s flamboyant Bob and Harvey Weinstein have been on a deal-making streak. They’ve announced pacts with Harvey Keitel (Smoke, Blue in the Face) and Elle Macpherson (in their Jane Eyre). They’ve signed Friends star David Schwimmer for four films and ex-late nighter Jon Stewart for six. They’ve handed Quentin Tarantino his own subdivision, Rolling Thunder (which could release four films a year), and they’re paying for Sharon Stone, without even locking her up for a movie, to develop a network series that she’d produce. What’s with the contract-signing frenzy—especially coming off a tepid year at the box office after the successes of Pulp Fiction and The Crow? Some pacts may be more hype than reality (an exclusive deal with Sean Penn was announced but nothing’s on paper). But some may reflect Miramax’s desire to maintain its reputation as a warehouse for young talent even in a season when its films aren’t making much noise. ”These are people who are on the cutting edge,” says cochairman Harvey Weinstein, ”and whose lives we want to be in. They’re not getting huge up-front money, but the back-end money—when a project works