EXCLUSIVE: After two decades of agenting movie stars in a boutique shop and not getting crushed by the behemoths around her, Ilene Feldman has decided to fold her agency and become a manager. At year’s end, she will shutter Ilene Feldman Associates after 19 years. She and longtime IFA partner Wendy Murphey will join LBI as talent managers. Their colleagues David Lillard and Christy Hall plan to remain agents and will explore their options. They will keep the agency running for a two-month transition period, when issues like Lillard and Hall’s next moves will be sorted, as well as where their clients will go.
Feldman’s recent agency clients include Ryan Gosling, Angelina Jolie and Josh Hartnett. She has a refreshing aversion to publicity, but I was able to sketch out some of what I consider to be a remarkable survival story. Feldman began with Herb Tobias, who mostly repped cinematographers. While a receptionist there, she showed an eye for acting talent, and signed then-unknown actors like Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp. Her list grew but wasn’t compatible to the core business, so she left Tobias. But she never really wanted to be at a major agency.