UPDATE: WME has just signed one of Hollywood’s most famous scorers and Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer from the Gorfaine-Schwartz Agency which until recently enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the film music market as big name agencies had divested themselves of representing composers. But WME recently got into the composer rep biz in a big way with the hiring of GSA’s Amos Newman. Zimmer had been talking to other talent tenpercenteries to redefine his Remote Control Productions team. For nearly 3 decades Zimmer has composed music for over 100 films including winning an Oscar for The Lion King. His other scores include Gladiator, The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, and Rango.
EXCLUSIVE: The Rock is one hot rock right now following the big worldwide opening of Universal’s Fast Five. This major movie star had a longtime relationship with agent Darren Statt and followed the rep from Endeavor to UTA to CAA most recently. But now Dwayne Johnson has called it quits with Statt and signed with WME. As I’ve previously reported, Johnson recently told Universal he wants to appear in the 6th installment of the Fast franchise as it transitions from street racing subject matter to a heist film. Johnson is attached to a Charley Pride biopic as well as to the film Snitch. The Rock this year also renewed his relationship with the World Wrestling Entertainment which celebrated his birthday last night. I hear that’s when Johnson finalized his decision to leave Statt. Look, everyone knows The Rock is a great guy and also has more than amply demonstrated his loyalty. In this case, as one of my commenters so atply puts it, ”Does that make CAA caught between The Rock and a hard place?”
EXCLUSIVE: Cary Berman was a veteran William Morris agent who joined with Endeavor’s Jessica Thomas to co-head the new agency’s commercial department. Now Berman is leaving and Thomas is staying.
EXCLUSIVE: Live With Regis & Kelly co-host Kelly Ripa was with WME, and her husband Mark Consuelos was with Innovative. CAA’s Bryan Lourd not only signed them but also their production company Milojo Productions, which has made several shows for TLC. The question now is whether Consuelos might replace Regis Philbin as Kelly’s co-host. In a recent People magazine poll, Consuelos scored big over other contenders like Survivor‘s Jeff Probst.
Rudy Altobelli, an agent who represented musicians and actors during the 1960s and ’70s and who owned the Beverly Hills mansion at 10050 Cielo Drive when the Manson Family killed Sharon Tate and five others there in 1969, died March 26. He was 82.
Giger is the Swiss surrealist artist responsible for the groundbreaking visuals on the Ridley Scott-directed Alien, for which he won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Giger, who has his own museum filled with his work in Switzerland, will be repped by WME for film, TV and vidgame design work along with Section 9 Entertainment. He has been very selective in the projects he’s done. Les Barany remains the agent for his art work.
UPDATE: WME will be pitted against rival agency UTA in the quest to set up projects about the Chilean miner rescue. Deadline previously told you that Kansas-based international drilling company Layne Christensen Company and chief driller Jeff Hart were signed by UTA to tell the story from their perspective, which shapes up as an underground Apollo 13.
Earlier, 7:09 AM: WME has added 33 new clients. They are the Chilean miners who were rescued last October after being trapped together for 69 days after the copper mine they were working in collapsed August 5, 2010 in Copiapo. The men were stuck 2000 feet underground, and were finally rescued one at a time. The miners continue to be an inspiring story of survival, though reports indicate many are still having trouble processing the ordeal.
WME will rep life rights in all areas, including TV, film, books, commercials, theater and lectures. WME has the ability to sell a rights package that will include a daily journal kept by one of the miners. They haven’t aligned with anyone until now. WME will work with Arent Fox, the law firm working with the group, as well as Chilean firms Carey y Cia and Remberto Valdes.
UPDATE: Often described as one of the most prominent baseball player agents in sports, Casey Close was considered a real “get” for CAA Sports division when he arrived back in April 2006 from IMG when CAA raided several agents from there to set up its new division. So his departure when his 5-year contract expires next month has to be considered a real loss as well. SportsBusiness Daily first broke the news, which I’ve confirmed. Close is best known as the longtime rep to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, and just as there was financial sharing when Close left IMG, so, too, will there be the same arrangement when he leaves CAA. It’s not known where Close is heading. Last year, CAA Sports had quietly removed the baseball division from under Close’s management. But Close still reps the two biggest baseball clients CAA has. Insiders told me last year that CAA tried for a contract extension for Close because the agency didn’t want those most marketable stars to leave with Casey “so they gave him a back room office, which basically amounts to a desk job, to keep the business moving”. UPDATE: Before that, other sources told me, CAA Sports had an exclusive agreement with the New York Yankees to bring corporate sponsorships for the 2009 opening of the new Yankee …
EXCLUSIVE: Shiloh Fernandez, who stars opposite Amanda Seyfried in Catherine Hardwicke’s upcoming Gothic fantasy Red Riding Hood, has signed with CAA. Fernandez had been pursued by several agencies since he left Innovative 10 days ago. He continues to be managed by Untitled. Fernandez, who was a finalist for the role of Edward in the Hardwicke-directed Twilight, stars in two movies opening next month: Warner Bros.’ Red Riding Hood and indie Skateland. On TV, he co-starred on Jericho.
The following internal email was just sent inside Paradigm: “Effective immediately, David Guillod is no longer an employee at Paradigm.” Insiders tell me the decision was Paradigm’s. This is very strange since he came to Paradigm in November 2009. First he leaves UTA after 8 years as a partner and co-head of the motion picture talent department to supposedly join a content company. Then he defects to Paradigm and Sam Gores sounds thrilled in the announcement saying “the culture and environment at Paradigm is the right place for him to pursue the next chapter of his career [as] a very senior agent [and] great addition to Paradigm’s present and future”.
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed director Len Wiseman, who is following Live Free Or Die Hard by helming the remake of Total Recall with Colin Farrell playing the Arnold Schwarzenegger role for Columbia Pictures. Wiseman launched his feature directing career with Underworld and the sequel Underworld: Evolution, also recently directed the pilot for the hit CBS drama Hawaii 5-0. Wiseman had been repped at ICM, but his primary longtime agent, Nick Reed, exited the agency in 2009.
EXCLUSIVE: Paul Walker has signed with UTA, where he’ll be repped by Jim Berkus, Theresa Peters and Chris Hart. Walker spent the last three years at CAA. The move comes as Universal prepares an April 29 release of Fast Five, the fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious series. Walker, who most recently starred in the Screen Gems heist film Takers, continues to be managed by Matt Luber of Luber Roklin Entertainment.
Dustin Clare, who plays the lead in Starz’s Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, has signed with UTA. This is the first U.S. representation for the Australian actor, who continues to be represented by RGM in his native country. In Gods of the Arena, prequel to hit series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Clare plays the central character Gannicus, the second gladiator to become Champion of Capua. The limited series premiered last month to strong ratings. Clare recently completed Fred Schepisi’s feature The Eye of the Storm. He has appeared on such Australian series as Underbelly and McLeod’s Daughters.
EXCLUSIVE: Last April, Deadline posted a very harsh “goodbye” email sent WME Entertainment agency-wide from an African-American ”floater” working in its NYC office. It generated some of the most contentious comments which Deadline has ever experienced. (WME Floater Sends Harsh Goodbye Email) The subject of the floater’s email was the lack of diversity (specifically, no black or latino agents and only one Asian out of more than 50 white execs) in the WME office and the lack of opportunity for his advancement. Although this floater had brought a music client to the agency before he even started there — 7-time Grammy nominated artist Jazmine Sullivan — he was not rewarded. When he finally got fed up and told WME brass he could make this a much larger issue, he got the agency to pay him for 5 months to basically look for another job. (Afterwards, WME carried out a witch-hunt: Mass Reprimands, 4 Firings At WME Over That Floater’s “Goodbye” Email) Now that floater, Marcus Washington is a pro se litigant suing WME for racial discrimination and seeking $25 million. (“Pro se” legal representation means advocating on one’s own behalf before a court, rather than being represented by a lawyer.) “Race is nothing but a social construct and has meaning only because we have allowed ourselves to be defined by it,” Washington said in a statement to Deadline. “It doesn’t determine ability or one’s capabilities and this case challenges this divisive myth that has allowed the human race, and particularly this country, from ever reaching its full potential. We must no longer allow our past to define our future.”
With his PR agency saying he is “standing up for his civil and human rights”, Washington is suing WME for “disparate impact and treatment racial discrimination, aiding and abetting and retaliation” in the 80-page complaint filed in the Southern District Court of New York filed in late December.
The actress starring in the Mike Leigh-directed Another Year was yesterday nominated for a BAFTA Award (the British Oscars) for her performance. And Lesley Manville was also awarded Best Actress by the National Board of Review. Her previous screen credits include Vera Drake, Topsy-Turvy, All Or Nothing, and A Christmas Carol. Manville is a sought-after UK stage actress, having starred in several high profile productions at The Old Vic and the National. Although ICM just signed her, she continues to be represented in the UK by Sue Latimer and is managed by Marsha McManus. ICM is now repping several Oscar-touted thesps this year like Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Robert Duvall (Get Low), Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). Clients Al Pacino (for HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack), Laura Linney (for Showtime’s The Big C), and Melissa Leo won Golden Globes in their respective categories Sunday night.
In other Hollywood agency signings, Alison Brie, who plays the female lead opposite Joel McHale on NBC’s comedy series Community and Trudy Campbell on AMC’s Mad Men has just signed with UTA. She has a lead role in the upcoming Scream 4. She’s still with Vital Management Group.
There’s nothing that impresses me more than staying power among Hollywood players, none more so than talent agents because that’s such a brutal biz. So today Toni Howard celebrates her 20th year at ICM. (I recall the newsmaking day she led a group of fellow female talent agents who weren’t being treated well at the old William Morris Agency to defect to ICM.) ”They made a very nice celebration and Jeff Berg made a beautiful speech,” an insider tells me.
Deadline told you that CAA hired Kami Putnam-Heist away from WME, but now one of her clients has left her behind. NBC Chuck‘s Zachary Levi who just voiced the male lead in Tangled and whose name comes up for a few leading men film roles has just signed with ICM. This followed a very competitive round of meetings with each of the major agencies who consider him a film/TV crossover. He also just received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for his performance with Mandy Moore on the song “I See The Light.” Levi is directing on Chuck now and wants to do more. An ICM team of 6 agents will rep him as both an actor and director and in both television and film. He continues to be managed by Leanne Coronel and represented by law firm McKuin Frankel Whitehead.
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed HBO True Blood star Joe Manganiello and Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief star Logan Lerman. Both actors have followed their agent, Kami Putnam-Heist, who moved from WME to CAA on January 3rd as scooped by Deadline. At the time, she brought only 127 Hours star James Franco with her. Manganiello is reputedly a possible candidate for the Zack Snyder-directed Superman film that Chris Nolan is producing. Lerman next stars in the Summit/Constantine film The Three Musketeers, and was also in James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma.
APA has signed a slew of actors. Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) was previously repped by Paradigm. He is managed by Industry Entertainment. Adam Beach, who will next be seen in Cowboys & Aliens, was formerly with ICM. He is managed by Industry. Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Vincere) is managed by Principal Entertainment. She was formerly at Paradigm. Matthew Modine will next be seen in the HBO film Too Big to Fail. He is managed by Untitled Entertainment and was formerly at Innovative. Former ER star Eriq LaSalle will next appear in the miniseries Black Out. He is managed by Principato Young. Burt Reynolds, managed by KLWG Entertainment, was formerly repped by ICM.
CAA has signed 2 production companies: Firecracker Films, a U.K.- and U.S.-based reality production company that recently produced the two-hour My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding for Channel 4 in the U.K., and Zig Zag Prods., a U.K.- and U.S.-based reality production company whose most-recent project, Back on the Job, debuted late last year on itv4. Zig Zag was previously repped by ICM. CAA has also signed Rebecca Mayer, the showrunner on MTV’s I Used to be Fat. She has previously worked on The Biggest Loser (NBC), Intervention (A&E), and I Survived a Japanese Game Show (ABC).
Ryan Daly has left Innovative Artists to join management company Zero Gravity Management, bringing with him several clients, including …