Exclusive: Lesher makes his first hire at Paramount Classics

…and inside word is that it’s none other than his old chum Amy Israel, the former head of acquisitions and co-productions at Miramax Films. Israeli Flag.gif

(Of course, FishbowlLA was first to bring you the news that Endeavor partner John Lesher had left Endeavor for Paramount Classics last November.)

Israel has kept busy of late exec producing pics like 2004’s Peter Chelsolm remake of “Shall We Dance” for Miramax and more recently, Ed Stone‘s comedy, “Griffin and Phoenix.”

Who the hell is Ed Stone, you ask? Well, remember Miramax’s $10 million acquisition of “Happy, Texas”? Well, it’s that Ed Stone. The writer director’s new comedy is currently in production at Gold Circle Films, and is being produced by Israel’s former co-head of acquisitons, Jason Blum. Who, we might mention, just happend to ink a first-look deal at Paramount Pictures proper, last May.

Hmmm. I wonder which movies Amy will pick up at Classics?

We also hear there’ll be hires in New York and London, and naturally, we’ll bring them to you first.