Luis Guzman has been cast as the lead in Aztec Warrior. Scott Sanders will direct the action comedy from Pantelion Films. Guzman, who starred in Boogie Nights and DreamWorks upcoming Turbo, will begin filming next month in New Orleans. He plays the Warrior in the Lucha Libre-inspired pic who goes up against his rival El Diablo, to be played by Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez. Terry Crews, Nadine Velazquez and Desperate Housewives’ Lupe Ontiveros co-star. Sanders, who directed 2010’s blaxploitation homage Black Dynamite, co-wrote the script with Don Handfield; its based on a story by Handfield and Javier Chapa. Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa are co-financing. Chapa and Handfield are producing with Pantelion’s Benjamin Odell. Pantelion’s James McNamara and Paul Presburger and Grupo Televisa’s Fernando Perez Gavilan are executive producing with Sergio Aguero, Todd Williams and Guzman. Sanders is repped by WME and 3Arts Entertainment. Guzman is repped by Gersh.
Samantha Bee, best known for her work as the Most Senior Correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, has signed with UTA. She also had a recurring role on HBO’s Bored To Death and is currently developing a feature for Anthony Bregman’s Likely Story with her husband, fellow Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones. Bee continues to be repped by manager Brian Stern at Brillstein Entertainment Partners and attorney Neil Meyer.
Fiona Gubelmann, who plays the female lead opposite Elijah Wood and Jason Gann on the hit FX comedy Wilfred, has signed with Gersh. She is managed by Flutie Entertainment.
Tammy Blanchard has signed with Gersh for all areas. A TV regular, Blanchard is currently guest starring on Showtime’s The Big C with Laura Linney. On the film side, she was in last year’s Moneyball and soon will appear in the indie drama Union Square with Miro Sorvino. Blanchard just finished a stint on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, a performance that garnered a Tony nomination. She won a Supporting Actress Emmy in 2001 for her role in Life With Judy Garland: Me And My Shadows. Blanchard is managed by Soffer/Namoff Entertainment.
Joe Eshenbaugh has joined the comedy department at Innovative Artists. He arrives from Gersh, where he was the agency’s comedy coordinator for the past two years, and will work with Innovative comedy head Ian Arougheti. The agency reps Mary Lynn Rajskub, Larry Miller and Pauly Shore among others on its live comedy roster for clubs, casinos, events and other venues.
Gersh has signed Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern, whose documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits premiered at Sundance and played SXSW and was subsequently acquired for distribution by Oscilloscope. The duo directs commercials and music videos under the name “thirtytwo,” with the UK company Pulse Films, and they have directed two documentaries. The first was No Distance Left to Run, on the band Blur, and Shut Up and Play the Hits chronicled the breakup of LCD Soundsystem. Oscilloscope is slated to release this summer.
EXCLUSIVE: Gersh has signed Sheldon Candis and Justin Wilson. They co-wrote and Candis made his directorial debut on LUV, which premiered at Sundance in the US Dramatic Competition and was acquired by Indomina and BET in a 7-figure deal for North American theatrical and broadcast rights. The film, which stars Common, Michael Rainey Jr, Dennis Haysbert and Danny Glover, premieres in the fall. Candis & Wilson are developing film and TV projects through their Cinephile Academy banner, and they continue to be managed by Jeremy Platt and Jelani Johnson at Generate.
EXCLUSIVE: Alibar and director Benh Zeitlin adapted the 2012 Sundance winner from her play Juicy And Delicious. The Beasts Of The Southern Wild world premiere received a standing ovation at the Eccles Theater early in the festival, with many festival attendees buzzing about its unique storyline centered on a young girl in a forgotten community in the Louisiana bayou. Alibar’s previous plays include A Friend Of Dorothy, Gorgeous Raptors, Mommy Says I’m Pretty On The Insides and Home Baking Made Easy, a musical about sex and Southern food. Fox Searchlight acquired Beasts Of The Southern Wild at Sundance and slated it for release later this year.
Actor/comedian Jay Mohr has signed with Gersh for film, TV and literary representation. He was at Paradigm. Mohr, who is recurring on the ABC freshman comedy series Suburgatory, is currently filming the feature Bert Wonderstone with Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. Mohr continues to be repped by longtime manager Barry Katz, and the law firm of Jackoway Tyerman.
Gersh also has signed top MMA fighter Josh Barnett, who is looking to venture into acting. The agency handles other crossover MMA talent, including Randy Couture, Cung Le and Gina Carano. Barnett, who is under a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce, continues to be managed by Blue’s Leland LaBarre.
Actress-writer-comedian Natasha Leggero, a regular on E!’s Chelsea Lately, has signed with CAA. She was with Gersh. Leggero next is doing an arc on Chelsea Handler’s midseason NBC comedy series Are You There, Chelsea? Earlier this year she starred in the Comedy Central special Comedy Central Presents Speed Dating: Natasha Leggero, and her record, Coke Money, has been in the top 10 on iTunes since its debut on Comedy Central Records in March. Leggero continues to be repped by Brillstein Entertainment and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
EXCLUSIVE: Actor David Krumholtz has signed with Gersh. This marks Krumholtz’s return to the agency where he had been a long-time client. He was recently at CAA. Krumholtz co-starred on NBC’s short-lived drama series The Playboy Club and is already fielding new pilot/series offers following the period drama’s cancellation last week. Krumholtz previously starred on the long-running CBS procedural Numb3rs, a role he landed while at Gersh. On the feature side he will next be seen in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, reprising his role as Goldstein from the previous 2 movies in the franchise. Krumholtz will continue to be repped by Jeff Golenberg at The Collective and attorney Warren Dern.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Noth has signed with Gersh. He had been repped by CAA. Noth, a fixture of TV and stage in New York, has been acting in the Broadway revival of That Championship Season, and he continues in a non-exclusive role as the scandal-scarred husband in The Good Wife. Noth continues to be managed by Sanders Armstrong Caserta.
UPDATE: Chris Highland has joined Paradigm as a talent agent in the New York office beginning today after he exited Gersh’s Big Apple office. At Gersh, he repped Victor Garber, Josh Hamilton, and Monica Raymond among others, but it’s not clear who’ll follow him. Meanwhile, Jim Osborne, formerly of Paradigm, has landed at APA. He took clients Gary Oldman and Michael Clark Duncan with him.
Looking to beef up its place in the independent film finance/distribution arenas, Gersh has promoted to partner Jay Cohen, the producer who last year joined the agency to spearhead the department. Gersh has also hired producer Jennifer Dana to work closely with Cohen to package projects and work with film funds. Dana is in post-production on the Emma Roberts-Freddie Highmore film Homework, which she produced under her Mint Pictures banner. She formed her producing company after a stint with Andrew Lauren Productions. Among the film funds repped by Gersh are Queen Nefertari Productions, Northern Lights Films and Ketchup Media. The agency is also looking to secure offshore equity from Columbia, UK and China.
UPDATED: ICM has signed actor clients including Emmy-winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk for 8 seasons) from CAA, Melissa George (In Treatment) from Paradigm, and Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) from WME. In addition, the agency signed away from UTA new motion picture lit clients Steven Rogers (Enchanted Inc, P.S. I Love You, Kate & Leopold) and Japanese horror movement pioneer Takashi Shimizu (English-language remakes of The Grudge 1 & 2). ICM’s International & Independent film department is packaging Shimizi’s next project Parasyte produced by Ozla Pictures, the Jim Henson Company, and Angry Films.
WME has signed Michael Patrick O’Brien, who is about to start his 2nd year as a writer for Saturday Night Live; Paul Iacono who stars as the title character in MTV’s highest-rated scripted show The Hard Times Of RJ Berger; indie film star and West Wing standout Allison Janney who is managed by Thruline Entertainment; Melina Kanakaredes who just finished a 6-year starring role in CSI:NY, Kerry Bishe, one of the stars of Ed Burns’ film Nice Guy Johnny and who last season was a new cast member on Scrubs; Luke Bracey, the male lead of Monte Carlo; Jane Goldman, who co-wrote Stardust, The Debt, and Kick-Ass and is currently writing on X-Men: First Class; Andrew Barrer & Gabe Ferrari, whose screenplay Die In A Gunfight is currently being developed with Zac Efron attached to star and Mark Gordon attached to produce; Ian Deitchman & Kristin Rusk Robinson who have Life As We Know It coming out this October from Warner Bros; W Kamau Bell, standup comedian whose one-man show “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in …
UPDATE: Bill Butler is leaving Gersh to manage his client Melina Kanakaredes, who is moving to WME for agency representation. Also, Karen Forman — a talent agent at Metropolitan, APA and most recently Domain – is partnering with Danielle Del and Didi Rea at D2 Management.
While his My Boys co-stars Jordana Spiro and Kyle Howard had to pull out of their regular roles on new NBC series Love Bites and Perfect Couples because of their commitment to the TBS comedy, Reid Scott quietly booked a heavily recurring role on Showtime’s upcoming dark comedy series The Big C. The Sony/Original Film-produced show stars Linney as Cathy, a repressed suburban wife and mother who reclaims her life after a terminal cancer diagnosis. Scott, repped by Gersh and Impression, plays Cathy’s oncologist Dr. Todd who has lots of training and intellect but lacks life or professional experience. Scott is doing The Big C with TBS’ blessing. What also helped him do the series while still under contract on My Boys is that his role on The Big C is technically recurring. Additionally, the smaller size of The Big C‘s order – 13 episodes – and its production schedule – it is now filming for an Aug. 16 premiere – would make Scott available in the unlikely event that My Boys is renewed for another season.