The fallout continues from Dan Aloni’s firing from CAA and move to WME last year. On Tuesday. Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan sought to get his legal action against his past and present agencies dismissed so the parties can go to arbitration. Nolan’s lawyers filed the paperwork in LA Superior Court to dismiss the commissions suit he launched against CAA and WME last September without prejudice. The next step is for everyone to go before a trio of judges on an arbitration panel; a case management hearing has been set for next week to move the matter forward. Nolan’s suit last fall erupted over which agency pockets his commissions. The director, his wife Emma Thomas Nolan, and their production company Syncopy filed the suit to end any potential threat that they themselves could be sued by either CAA or WME over the money. They requested the court to determine which agency they were supposed to pay the 10% commission from deals struck between late 2005 and early 2012. The Nolans said in the suit that they “are ready and willing to deliver the Commissions to the party who is legally entitled to receive them.”
Dan Aloni‘s case against his former employer CAA is going to arbitration, an LA Superior Court judge has ruled this morning. “The good guys won”, said Aloni’s lawyer Patricia Glaser outside the downtown courtroom after a brief hearing. Lawyers for Aloni and CAA were facing off after he filed a court order last month to compel CAA into arbitration over the more than $5 million in bonuses and vacation pay he says it owes him. Aloni was fired from CAA in February after being with the agency for seven years. He joined WME as a partner in March, bringing over over all his big clients including Christopher Nolan, David Dobkin, Mike Myers, Jay Roach, David Goyer, Tom Shadyac, Michel Gondry, Raja Gosnell, Mandeville Films and more.
Judge Ralph W. Dau this morning heard from Glaser and attorney Harold M. Brody representing CAA. The judge had written a tentative ruling the lawyers saw just before the hearing. After hearing from both parties, Dau confirmed that ruling and set the matter toward arbitration as Aloni desired in his initial petition filed November 5. Since then there had seen a series of declarations, motions to strike and proof of service but no settlement talks.
Dan Aloni filed a petition today against his former employer CAA for more than $5 million claiming labor code violations and that the agency is refusing to participate in arbitration. Aloni was fired from CAA on February 29 after being with the agency for seven years. “Mr. Aloni has various claims against CAA arising out of its wrongful termination of his employment, including but not limited to CAA’s refusal to pay Mr. Aloni bonuses related to his performance, CAA’s refusal to pay Mr. Aloni a bonus related to CAA ‘s transaction with TPG Capital, and CAA’s refusal to pay Mr. Aloni the value of his unused vacation time,” the court filing says (read it here). CAA is in violation of the binding arbitration clauses that are part of the 2008 employment agreement Aloni had with the agency, Aloni says. He has asked for a hearing for November 15 to get a court order compelling arbitration. The court filing today claims that during an October 22, 2012 call with CAA arranged by the American Arbitration Association, the agency’s lawyer said “it would arbitrate only the claim for Mr. Aloni’s unpaid bonus for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and would not arbitrate Mr. Aloni’s claims unless it was compelled to do so by a court.” That pronouncement was the catalyst for today’s action.
Since Aloni joined WME as a partner in March, he has brought over all his big clients including Chris Nolan, David Dobkin, Mike Myers, Jay Roach, David Goyer, Tom Shadyac, Michel Gondry, Raja Gosnell, Mandeville Films, Jonathan Mostow, Dean Parisot, Neal Moritz, Andy Fleming, David and Ian Purchase, John Crowley and John Carney. CAA did not respond to requests for comment.
EXCLUSIVE: The fallout from the exit of Dan Aloni from CAA to WME Entertainment continues. In a shocker, Jim Carrey has left CAA so that he could rejoin Aloni at WME. Carrey was built into a superstar at UTA before leaving to join CAA when Aloni left that agency and became CAA agents.
Said Carrey: “My work with Dan Aloni reaches back to Ace Ventura and through films like The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I have decided to continue that relationship by joining him at WME. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone at CAA who worked very hard on my behalf.” Carrey continues to be managed by Jimmy Miller and Eric Gold.
Since Aloni left CAA, he has brought over all his big clients including Chris Nolan, David Dobkin, Mike Myers, Jay Roach, David Goyer, Tom Shadyac, Michel Gondry, Raja Gosnell, Mandeville Films, Jonathan Mostow, Dean Parisot, Neal Moritz, Andy Fleming, David and Ian Purchase, John Crowley and John Carney.
BREAKING: In a move that was expected, writer/director David Dobkin has moved from CAA to WME, rejoining his longtime agent Dan Aloni. The Wedding Crashers helmer is right in the midst of casting Arthur & Lancelot, his rendering of the Knights of the Roundtable tale that he sold in a spec deal north of $2 million. Dobkin and Warner Bros have overcome obstacles–an original $130 million budget prompted the studio to let Dobkin shop it elsewhere, and Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman came and went, as did another incarnation with Colin Farrell. The studio and Dobkin found common ground on budget, and Warner Bros is in talks with Gary Oldman to play Merlin. There have been rumblings of thesps like Tom Hardy, but that depends on his Fury Road schedule. Dobkin is producing through his Big Kid Pictures banner.
As a writer/producer, Dobkin recently wrapped photography on RIPD for Universal, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and produced the Bryan Singer-directed Jack The Giant Killer for New Line, starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Bill Nighy. He’s developing The Judge as a directing vehicle, with Robert Downey Jr. attached to star, and is producing the reboot of Vacation for New Line.
Dobkin is one of the last of Aloni’s tenured clients to jump ship, and he was with the agent for 15 years. Among the clients that joined Aloni at WME are Chris Nolan, Mike Myers, Jay Roach, David Goyer, …
Dan Aloni has brought over his client David Goyer, who has left CAA to join WME. Goyer, a credited writer on all three of Chris Nolan’s Batman films, and is sole writer on the Superman reboot Man of Steel. He is also credited as writer behind the Blade and Ghost Rider franchises. He directed The Unborn, The Invisible and Blade Trinity and was creator and exec producer and director on Flash Forward. He also wrote Call of Duty and is booked to direct Invisible Man at Universal, Murder Mysteries at Legendary and Da Vinci for Starz. Aloni has managed to bring almost all his clients from CAA, something that I can’t remember happening, at least not since Patrick Whitesell left CAA to become a partner at Endeavor. About the only writer/director left in play is David Dobkin.
BREAKING: Director Jay Roach has moved from CAA to WME, joining his agent Dan Aloni. This comes at a time when the Roach-helmed Game Change clocked in as HBO’s highest-rated pic in eight years. Though not as high profile as Chris Nolan, Roach is a big get for WME and Aloni. He has been at the center of two huge franchises in Austin Powers and Meet The Parents. While known for comedy, he’s always had a yen for politics, and before the Sarah Palin-2008 presidential campaign drama Game Change he helmed HBO’s Recount, about the disputed presidential election results in Florida that decided the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Roach, who just helmed the political comedy The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, has several irons in the fire, including a Peter Landesman-scripted adaptation of the memoir written by Deep Throat FBI man Mark Felt at Universal and Playtone. Mike Myers (who joined Aloni yesterday) is also working on another Austin Powers, and presumably Roach would be involved since he helmed the first three hits. Roach is still repped by Mosaic.
EXCLUSIVE: Mike Myers has just left CAA and moved to WME. No big drama, I’m told. He simply followed his agent, Dan Aloni, who moved from CAA to become a WME partner. WME’s quick move to bring Aloni into the fold has changed the complexion of WME’s lit roster. He brought in Chris Nolan, Tom Shadyac, Michel Gondry, Raja Gosnell, Mandeville Films, Jonathan Mostow, Dean Parisot, Neal Moritz, Andy Fleming and David and Ian Purchase. Others in play include David Dobkin, Jim Carrey, Charles Roven and Jay Roach.
Myers has several projects percolating, including another Austin Powers film. While The Love Guru didn’t work for Myers, when you have a guy who can create characters the way that Myers has in franchises like Austin Powers and Wayne’s World, that’s a business you want to be in.
EXCLUSIVE: After Dan Aloni exited CAA and was quickly named a WME partner, the big question was how many of the clients he worked with would jump. Deadline told you that his biggest client, Chris Nolan, declared before Aloni landed that he was staying with his longtime agent wherever he went. I’m hearing that aside from The Dark Knight Rises director, Aloni clients who’ve moved from CAA to WME so far are Tom Shadyac, Michel Gondry, Raja Gosnell, Mandeville Films, Jonathan Mostow, Dean Parisot, Neal Moritz, Andy Fleming and David and Ian Purchase. Several other clients are still in play, including David Dobkin, Jim Carrey, Charles Roven and Jay Roach. More to come.
EXCLUSIVE: Two days after his shocking firing from CAA, top motion picture lit agent Dan Aloni has joined rival WME as a partner in its motion picture department. It has not been determined yet which clients will follow Aloni to WME, but the agent’s highest-profile client, director Chris Nolan, had made it clear he would follow him wherever he goes. Throughout his career, Aloni also has worked with Jim Carrey, David Dobkin, Michel Gondry, David Goyer, Mandeville Films, Mike Meyers, Neil Moritz, Dean Parisot, Jay Roach, Chuck Roven and Tom Shadyac. Aloni spent the last 7 years at CAA. Before that, he was at UTA for 11 years.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Nolan has just left CAA, in the wake of the firing of Dan Aloni. A source close to the situation tells me that Nolan and his producer/wife Emma Thomas, will be going wherever Aloni lands. This makes Aloni a prime commodity in the marketplace, whether he goes to an agency like WME or becomes a manager. I broke the story earlier today when CAA abruptly fired Aloni, on the grounds that he didn’t mesh with the agency’s culture. Nolan directed the three Batman films as well as Inception. He also produced Superman film Man of Steel. He’s a billion dollar director that any agency would kill to represent. Nolan is only 41 and he’s going to make a lot more movies.
I’d heard early today that while CAA tried to keep Nolan in the fold, the agency more or less expected this might happen. The agency is due about $12 million in commissions from past and upcoming film deals brokered for Nolan, which cushioned the blow somewhat. What a crazy development this has been. Nolan’s move underscores what I’ve heard about Aloni: he can be a prick with co-workers, but he kills for his clients and they are loyal in return. I’m waiting to see if Aloni’s other clients feel the same. Aside from the directors I mentioned earlier, he’s got Jay Roach and David Dobkin, and producers like Neal …
UPDATE: I’m told that as of right now, Aloni’s top client Chris Nolan has not left the CAA fold. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes. There is speculation that Aloni could perhaps become a manager, or that he would land at WME. If the latter move is going to happen, it hasn’t yet because even that agency was caught off guard by what happened. I’ve also heard that no matter what happens, CAA is looking at a huge commission cushion from Nolan’s Inception, Batman trilogy and Superman, which he’s producing. The prospect of that revenue made it easier to decide life’s too short, which is evidently what happened between CAA and Aloni.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: In a major and surprising development, Dan Aloni has left CAA abruptly. I’m told it was the result of an eroding relationship with the agency and his coworkers. It sounds like his approach didn’t mesh with the CAA culture. I’ve heard that it led to his firing. Which just happened. Aloni came over to CAA in October 2005 after a long stint at UTA. He has an amazing list of writers and directors, including The Dark Knight Rises helmer Chris Nolan, Tom Shadyac, David Goyer, Michel Gondry, Dean Parisot and others. I’m not sure whether Aloni will move to another agency, and will follow this story as it develops. It does put a lot of clients in play, that’s for sure. I’ve …