Selena Gomez Leaves CAA; Signs With WME, Brillstein

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 4:33pm PDT

Selena Gomez WMEFormer Disney star and recording artist Selena Gomez has exited as a client of CAA and has signed with WME. The 21-year-old singer and ex-Wizards of Waverly Place actress has also signed with … Read More »

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WME Signs Playwright/Scribe Jay Reiss

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 8:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

putnamEXCLUSIVE: Writer Jay Reiss has signed with WME for representation. Reiss, who had been at CAA, co-wrote the award-winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the dark Julian Farino-directed comedy The Oranges. His movie … Read More »

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WME Signs ‘Captain America: First Avenger’ Helmer Joe Johnston

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 12:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

johnstonEXCLUSIVE: Director Joe Johnston has signed with WME for representation. Johnston had been in play since agents Martin Spencer and Adam Kanter left Resolution to go to Paradigm. He had been with CAA with Kanter for a long … Read More »

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Robert Zemeckis Signs With WME

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 8:58pm PDT

FRobert-Zemeckis-212184-1-402ilmmaker Robert Zemeckis has signed with WME’s Ari Emanuel. The writer-director-producer had been without an agent since leaving CAA about a year ago after a 30-year affiliation. The filmmaker is readying an experiential 3D film To Walk the Read More »

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WME Signs Michael Kenneth Williams

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 4:22pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Michael Kenneth WilliamsEXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Michael Kenneth Williams, better known as Chalky White if you have HBO and are as addicted to Terence Winter’s Boardwalk Empire as I am. Williams, who first made his mark on HBO’s The Read More »

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WME Hires Stuart Manashil Away From CAA; Move Puts Many Clients In Play

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 2:57pm PDT
Mike Fleming

manashil__140313215501-275x356EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Manashil has just joined WME as a literary agent in the Motion Picture Department. Manashil spent the last 6 1/2 years at CAA and before that spent six years at UTA. Now, the question is which … Read More »

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Lynne Ramsay And ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Producers Settle Lawsuit

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 11:06am PDT

NEW DJP LEGAL BADGEThe legal standoff between director Lynne Ramsay and the producers of Jane Got A Gun has ended in a draw, almost a year after the helmer abruptly left the pic on the first day of production. “Jane … Read More »

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Sony Finally Closes ‘Winter’s Knight’ As L. Frank Baum Keeps Racking Up Credits From Grave

By | Sunday March 2, 2014 @ 12:01pm PST
Mike Fleming

tv-scripts-200X2002ND UPDATE, 12:01 PM PT: After much back and forth Saturday involving Sony, Universal and a last-ditch overture from Warner Bros, Sony finally closed its deal for Winter’s Knight, the Viking-mythology-tinged origin story of St. Nick and Christmas. Sony emerged as front-runner when it agreed to pay $1 million to newbie scribes Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton, for the biggest spec sale of this year so far. That was the easy part. Deals were then made for producers Marc Platt and Lawrence Grey. More challenging was making a deal with the white hot Kon-Tiki helmers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, but that effort was led by incoming Sony-Pictures-logo__130125035333-200x312 (1)Sony Pictures Production President Michael De Luca. His persuasive pitch was that he plans to bring in the next generation of emerging filmmakers, much the way he did at ’90s New Line with the likes of David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson. That, and a precedent-setting mid-seven-figure salary for the directing team, sealed the deal. If Disney can keep to its schedule and get the next Pirates of the Caribbean to set sail before year’s end, the directors will make that after completing the pilot for the Netflix/Weinstein Company series Marco Polo, and Winter’s Knight will come after. Also intriguing is how this movie will lengthen the movie credit resume of L. Frank Baum, best known for The Wizard Of Oz. The subject matter is his 1902 book The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus. Of course, Baum’s work has fallen into public domain, meaning anyone can pillage it for movie ideas. At the rate Baum is going, with all the Oz incarnations and now this work being turned into big money Hollywood films, he might end up spinning in his grave almost as fast as Shakespeare, long Hollywood’s most heavily exploited public domain wordsmith. Read More »

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Actress Holliday Grainger Signs With WME

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 9:59am PST
Mike Fleming

HollidayGraingerEXCLUSIVE: Holliday Grainger has signed with WME for representation. The deal comes as the England native wraps Disney’s Cinderella, in which she plays mean stepsister Anastasia for Kenneth Branagh. Her credits include period pics like Mike Newell’s Great Read More »

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Digital Domain 3.0 Inks With WME

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 9:55am PST

Digital Domain 3.0The agency has signed new client Digital Domain 3.0 as the visual effects company continues to bounce back out of a 2012 bankruptcy. Digital Domain’s current iteration was acquired last year by Sun Innovations which appointed … Read More »

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WME Signs Rachel McAdams

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 8:30am PST
Mike Fleming

Rachel McAdamsEXCLUSIVE: Rachel McAdams has signed with WME. The actress comes into the agency fold after starring most recently in the untitled Cameron Crowe film with Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper and Bill Murray, and after starring in the Anton … Read More »

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WME Signs Kenneth Lonergan

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 11:05am PST
Mike Fleming

LONEREXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Kenneth Lonergan, the screenwriter, director and playwright who was Oscar nominated for You Can Count On Me. Lonergan, who had been with CAA, just took meetings and WME brought him into the agency fold. Lonergan … Read More »

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Mike Snider, Kevin Huffman & Dan Rauter Join WME

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 10:15am PST

wmeThe three agents are leaving Paradigm to launch WME‘s Christian Music Division out of Nashville. Mike Snider, Kevin Huffman and Dan Rauter bring with them clients including Andy Mineo, CeCe Winans, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Kari Jobe, Kutless and Lecrae. Snider, who … Read More »

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WME Signs Natalie Morales & Fredricka Whitfield

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 1:45pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fredericka WhitfieldNatalie MoralesNBC News’ Natalie Morales-Rhodes and CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield have signed with WME.  Both come from N.S. Bienstock. The signings happened last week amidst rumors that changes … Read More »

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WME Signs Oscar-Nominated ‘Nebraska’ Scribe Bob Nelson

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 7:20pm PST
Mike Fleming

bobnelsonEXCLUSIVE: Hot on the heels of getting an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Nebraska, Bob Nelson has signed with WME. Nelson wrote that script a decade ago and waited this long for Alexander Payne to make it. They’ve joked that they were waiting for Will Forte, Bruce Dern and June Squibb to reach the right ages, but the 57-year old Nelson’s sudden trajectory is remarkable. He has long been represented by Todd Hoffman, and he became in play after Hoffman left ICM to become a manager at Storied Media Group and took Nelson with him. Nelson took meetings with all the agencies this week.

Related: OSCARS Q&A: Bruce Dern Talks ‘Nebraska’

While it took a decade for his first script to get made, Nelson is looking to expedite the process considerably for his second film. He has finished a new script, The Confirmation, and intends to direct it. He’s going to reunite with Nebraska producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, who will begin to put the film together shortly. Read More »

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Writers Sue Fox, Peter Chernin, WME And Others Claiming ‘New Girl’ Is A Ripoff

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 4:05pm PST

newgirlIn Hollywood’s latest “you stole my idea” case, a pair of screenwriters have filed a lawsuit claiming the Zooey Deschanel sitcom was based on their work. Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold claim that Fox’s New Girl and their 2006 pilot Square One contain similarities “so numerous and specific that independent creation was obviously impossible.” They name as defendants New Girl exec producer Peter Chernin, creator Elizabeth Meriwether, director Jake Kasdan, WME and Fox parent company 21st Century Fox.

Weighing in at 90-plus pages, the suit filed Thursday in California’s Central District (read it here) claims a laundry list of “similarities between the shows’ themes, structure, setting, overall story and plot arcs, specific plot devices, interpersonal twists, dialogue, sequence of events, tenor, specific scenes and elements of scenes, character identities, character personalities, character relationships, character interaction, character development, character idiosyncrasies, and character names require the conclusion that defendant Meriwether not only knew of Square One, but copied Square One to create New Girl.” The plaintiffs say their show was based on Counts’ personal experience, when she moved into a three-man bachelor pad after a divorce. Read More »

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WME Signs ‘Dracula Untold’ Helmer Gary Shore And His ArtCastle Banner

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 9:23am PST
Mike Fleming

Gary_Shore_624x350EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed rising helmer Gary Shore and his ArtCastle label. Shore directed the upcoming Universal Pictures film Dracula Untold. With producer Jonathan Loughran (The F Word), Shore operates ArtCastleRead More »

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WME Partner Christopher Donnelly Shifting To Manager, Moving To LBI

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 9:10am PST
Mike Fleming

CDONNEXCLUSIVE:  Longtime WME partner and senior motion picture literary agent Christopher Donnelly is leaving the agency to become a manager at LBI. This transition has been in the works for a few weeks and he will make the move immediately. It is being announced at the WME morning staff meeting as we speak. At LBI, Donnelly will continue to rep clients as manager and help build out the company’s production arm. He joins Rick Yorn. Donnelly has been working with Yorn and WME chief Ari Emanuel on the career of The Wolf Of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese since The Aviator.

Donnelly becomes the second partner on the feature side to exit in recent weeks, after Brian Swardstrom left to become a partner at UTA. Read More »

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Who’s Who Of NSA And Tech Heavyweights Brought Together At WME Annual Retreat

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 11:56am PST

wmelogo__130130012227-200x113WME is wrapping up its third day of its annual retreat at La Costa Resort & Spa and the roster of speakers the agency has put together is looking more and more each year like a mini-Herb Allen Sun Valley Conference. The mini, however, is major with 450 WME agents gathered to listen to such prominent names as former CIA director and four-star Gen. Michael Hayden who once headed the National Security Administration and returned again this year. He headlines a roster that includes former and current Google and Facebook executives and even more political heavies. Also, one of the highlights, agents say, was Anne Wojciciki, one of the co-founders of 23andMe, a biotech and genomics company which her husband’s company Google invested heavily into (along with Genetech). It produces direct-to-consumer personal genome test kits that can determine inherited traits and genetic risk factors. Another speaker said to have one of the strongest presentations was Regina Dugan, the former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the first first female director to run the intelligence group before leaving for Google. She spoke about ingenuity and how you can be successful if you use the tools presented before you. She has previously done a series of TED talks. “It’s been really quite remarkable this year,” said one agent in attendance. “It like a bunch of really cool TED talks. I have learned so much.”

ari emanuelpatrick-whitesellEach year WME executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell gather their agents for three days to listen to talks from some of the most influential people in America. This year’s lineup is said to include Deputy NSA Advisor Thomas Donilon, who stepped down in June 2013 and has worked with the Obama administration in various capacities; and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook and author of the book Lean-In about how to motivate women to take their place in the executive ranks. FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2She is on the board of the Walt Disney Co. and used to work at Google in sales and helped launch Google’s philanthrophic endeavors. She was also the chief of staff for the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Joining them are Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom (who previously worked at Google where he helped implement Gmail and other offerings); Mixed in with this prestigious group of political and tech speakers will be Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, which owns and operates some of the country’s largest amphitheaters and and concert venues such as the House of Blues, Snoop-Dogg_5Hollywood Palladium, and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Guests also include WME’s rapper-musician-composer-producer Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg. Read More »

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