Expect to see a lot more productions in the near future from Ross and Rachel, and by that, we don’t mean siblings for little Emma. Both David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston have made the trades this week for deals that will put them behind the camera. Schwimmer signed on with NBC for two more years beyond the end of ”Friends” in 2004 in a deal that will have him producing, developing, and directing shows for the network. (His experience so far: he directed the 1998 straight-to-video movie ”Since You’ve Been Gone,” adapted Studs Terkel’s book ”Race” into a play he’s directing this summer in Chicago, pitched a series pilot to NBC which the network ultimately turned down, and directed 10 episodes of ”Friends.”) The network hasn’t said what sort of projects Schwimmer has in the pipeline, but maybe he can help NBC create that long-fabled spinoff for Matt LeBlanc’s Joey, which Variety reports is still on NBC’s wish list for fall 2004.
Aniston and husband Brad Pitt have formed a movie production company with Brad Grey (a producer of ”The Sopranos” and Pitt’s manager) that still doesn’t have a name but has already put at least three projects into development: a remake of the Hong Kong crime thriller ”Infernal Affairs,” the sci-fi/romance ”The Time Traveler’s Wife,” and, according to a Variety report on Wednesday, a yet-untitled comedy for Aniston in which she’d play a rich politician’s wife, whose life is turned upside-down when the boy she gave up for adoption 10 years ago resurfaces.
It’s not clear when any of these movies will see the light of day, but any delays won’t be for lack of connections. Monday night saw a $1.5 million benefit at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), at which Grey was honored for his fundraising work. Paying tribute to Grey were Pitt, Aniston, Courteney Cox, and other biggies, from Muhammad Ali to Mike Myers to CBS chief Les Moonves. In other words, Aniston’s not the only one with a lot of prominent friends.