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“De-Extinction” Company Colossal Moving Into Entertainment With Hire of Veteran Exec Emily Castel

When Colossal Biosciences launched in 2021 with a splashy New York Times article stating it aimed to to resurrect the Wooly Mammoth, the company’s goals drew comparisons to entertainment properties like Jurassic Park. Now Colossal, described as the world’s first de-extinction company, is making steps to enter the entertainment space with the hire of veteran executive Emily Castel as its chief marketing officer.

In the new role, Castel will lead the company’s brand, experiences, consumer products and emerging media, which would include entertainment content.

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Castel has close ties with Thomas Tull, the Legendary Entertainment founder who is among the backers of Colossal. She served as chief marketing officer at Legendary from 2013-17, working with the studio’s distribution partners Warner Bros. and Universal on titles such as Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Jurassic World, Warcraft and Kong: Skull Island. She then founded her own company, Castel Creative, where she worked on the Kingsman franchise and the Elton John biopic Rocketman for producer Marv Entertainment. She also maintained an advisory role at Legendary.

“It is important for Colossal to bring the importance of our scientific achievements and focus on de-extinction and conservation education to consumers in all mediums,” said Ben Lamm, Colossal CEO and co-founder. “Emily is the global brand leader who is best suited to bring Colossal there given her extensive entertainment background, knowledge of global consumer marketing, and proven track record in franchise marketing.”

Colossal reports it has raised $225 million in funding since its launch. Its stated mission is to help endangered species or even restore extinct species to Earth. (For example, by editing the DNA of an elephant to give embryos Wooly Mammoth-like qualities.)

Castel broke into Hollywood with her creative consultancy FIVE33, with clients including Disney, Pixar, Universal and Paramount. She worked on projects such as Tim Burton’s Alice & Wonderland, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. Legendary acquired her company in 2013, when she joined the studio.

“I look forward to building the Colossal brand into the market leader in the space and continuing the inspiring work that the team has been undertaking” said Castel.  “I’m excited to start the next chapter of my career with the world’s first de-extinction company. It is an opportunity to drive innovation in the sector, using entertainment to inspire global communities to engage in Colossal’s pioneering mission to preserve species and further their existence on earth.”

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