UPDATE 7:50 PM: I’ve just been given this exclusive statement from Paul Bloch at Rogers & Cowan: “After a 30-year association with Creative Artists Agency, Robert Zemeckis has decided to take a hiatus with the firm and step back for the time being. Mr. Zemeckis is very appreciative of the work they have accomplished together. He has no immediate plans for representation by a different agency.”
EXCLUSIVE 6:45 PM: My sources tell me the Academy Award-winning director of Forrest Gump exited the agency on Thursday. Robert Zemeckis has been a long-time CAA client dating back to Mike Ovitz when he and Jack Rapke, now Zemeckis’ producing partner, were the director’s agents. In more recent years Zemeckis was repped by Richard Lovett at the head of a team of agents. Zemeckis’ legendary career had cooled in recent years especially because of the uneven reception of his repeated use of motion capture technology. But he was considered back on top with the success of 2012′s Paramount actioner Flight which earned two Academy Award nominations including Best Actor (for Denzel Washington). And Zemeckis accomplished that and its $161M worldwide gross with only a $30 million budget. (Rapke brought Zemeckis the script and told the director that Washington was interested.) Since August 2011, Zemeckis has a two-year first-look producing deal with Universal Studios where he made his worldwide mega-hit Back To The Future threequel. I can tell you that, unlike many such situations involving major Hollywood talent contemplating an agency exit, there was no hint about this in the tenpercentery world where intel is currency. Needless to say, it’s always tough when an agency loses this caliber of prestigious and respected and visionary client (the USC School of Cinematic Arts houses the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts), and CAA doesn’t lose many – that’s for sure. So expect a feeding frenzy in the future to represent Zemeckis. In fact the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this month Read More »
CAA has signed three senior-level TV writer-producers.Eric Overmyer is the co-creator/executive producer of HBO’s Treme. Before collaborating with David Simon on the New Orleans-based series, Overmyer worked with Simon as a producer and writer on The Wire. Overmyer, who comes from UTA, also has worked on the three Law & Order series and Homicide: Life On The Street.
Also joining CAA from UTA is Scott Rosenbaum whose resume includes stints as executive producer on V and Chuck and co-executive producer on The Shield for five seasons. Clifton Campbell is the creator and executive producer of A&E’s The Glades and was previously a co-executive producer on USA’s White Collar. He was repped by ICM.
I’ve confirmed that the actress has axed her manager of 8 years Jason Weinberg, the founding partner of Untitled Entertainment whom she thanked in her 2005 speech for winning the Best Actress Oscar for Million Dollar Baby. The firing was first reported today by the UK’s The Independent On Sunday newspaper. It writes that Swank also is removing CAA agents Amie Yavor and Josh Lieberman from her team and is upset with the tenpercentery’s Lauren Hale as well. But the paper says Swank is not exiting CAA where her partner of five years, John Campisi, is an agent. So what’s the reason? The horrible publicity which Swank received after human rights organizations outed that she’d accepted a fat fee to walk the Red Carpet and make a speech and give greetings to Chechnya’s tyrannical president Ramzan Kadyrov at his birthday party earlier this month even though he’s been linked to brutal abuses. ”There’s a world of s–t going down at CAA over it…,” a knowledgeable source emails me. It sure seems that a lot of people exercised terrible judgment, first and foremost among them Swank herself. Read the entire backstory from The Independent‘s Los Angeles corespondent Guy Adams here.
Ari Sandel (West Bank Story, which won the 2006 Academy Award for live action short) made this video for WME’s Talent Department. As you know, WME often puts together spoofs (‘Pinkberry: The Movie’ here) for its quarterly meetings. APA was first to forward it because it pokes fun at both WME and CAA. Starring Maz Jobrani with cameos by Armie Hammer and Sofia Vergara and WME agents. Genius, and not just because it mentions Deadline and me:
EXCLUSIVE: CAA is about to have its retreat in Ojai this weekend. And there are some personnel moves being made ahead of it. Motion picture talent agents Tony Lipp and Kelly Tiffan announced today they are exiting the agency (separately) in what has been a long and amicable process. They’ll both become managers. There’s a going-away party tonight for Tiffan. Both agents are finalizing where they’ll be going and with which clients. Lipp, a 15-year CAA veteran, already has commitments from Matt Bomer, Simon Russell Beale, John Cleese, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane, Max Minghella, Jonathan Groff, Patrick Wilson, Mamie Gummer, Jack Quaid and others.
The reps had 6 months to go on their 2-year contracts with Creative Artists Agency. But CAA nevertheless cut loose their top licensing agents Mike Stein and Dana Smith after only 1 1/2 years of employment. They’d been hired from an Orange County firm by CAA partner Kevin Huvane for the so-called Lifestyle Department that builds businesses around clients through licensing, endorsements, branding, etc. An insider tells me: “They’d come highly recommended and were nice enough guys and seemed like a great addition. But they did not fit in at all culturally.” UPDATE: Among the inside-the-agency complaints alleged were that things they said were perceived as un-PC.