EXCLUSIVE: Twin comedy writers Shea (pictured on the left) and Evan Mirzai, who last month scored their second Black List mention in two years, have signed with Resolution. The brothers’ romantic comedy script Doppelgangers made the scripting kudos list in 2012 before their action comedy spec Diablo Run earned a spot in 2013′s edition.That makes the Mirzais one of just four Black List repeaters in 2012 and 2013. Said script, about two best friends road tripping in Mexico who are forced to enter a thousand-mile death race with no rules, landed them representation at Resolution and will be produced by Atmosphere Entertainment’s Mark Canton, David Hopwood, and Matthew Einstein. Resolution’s Martin Spencer and Remington Franklin will rep the pair on the feature lit and talent side while Ian Greenstein handles TV. Meanwhile, the Mirzai brothers are developing a TV comedy pilot with BroBible founder/CEO Douglas Banker, Alex Garinger, and Banker’s Five All In The Fifth Entertainment shingle. They’re also exec producing two TV projects for YouTube act FatAwesome. The currently unmanaged duo is repped by Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder.
EXCLUSIVE: Another very interesting sign from ICM by Jeff Berg‘s Resolution Agency. Leigh Brillstein gave her notice about 15 minutes ago after 25 years working for Berg and then recently Chris Silbermann. She ran ICM’s TV talent department twice and before that was at CAA, first as an assistant in the lit department and later as a talent agent, until 1980. She is, of course, the daughter of the late and legendary Hollywood manager and producer Bernie Brillstein. UPDATE: “Leigh has a great eye for performers and has successfully overseen the careers of numerous award-winning actors while also serving as a mentor for a generation of younger agency colleagues,” Berg said in a statement. ”With the expansion of cable channels and the new digital platforms in addition to broadcast, Leigh’s expertise will become invaluable in helping assure that our clients are fully represented in all aspects of television.”
EXCLUSIVE: In between giving interviews, Jeff Berg keeps signing new agents. The latest is Marc Helwig who just left ICM for Berg’s Resolution Agency which is ramping up its international filmmakers’ coverage. The multilingual Helwig’s clients include Mama director Andy Muschietti and his sister, Mama co-writer and producer Barbara Muschietti, director Neil Marshall from Game Of Thrones who is helming the first episode of Starz Entertainment’s and Michael Bay’s Black Sails, Danish film director/actor/producer Ole Bornedal (Possession), and British writer Joe Ahearne who co-wrote the upcoming Trance for director Danny Boyle and just sold an untitled supernatural pitch to Warner Bros. Helwig worked in London and agented at Paradigm before joining ICM in 2010.
UPDATED: Everly Lee, agent in APA‘s talent department, has left the agency after a four-year stint to join Jeff Berg‘s Resolution Agency. Her APA contract was up and the two parties opted not to renew it. Lee’s clients have included Bow Wow, Brandy and Malinda Williams. Lee has been a talent agent since 2002, first at UTA and then Global Artists Agency, before joining APA in 2009.
EXCLUSIVE: Veteran motion picture agents Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer – who represent some very prominent directors, writers and producers – are joining Jeff Berg‘s new Resolution as senior agents after 25 years with CAA. Berg made the announcement today. Of course, it isn’t yet known how many of Kanter’s and Spencer’s clients will join Resolution from CAA. “But they’ve had long-term relationships with many of them,” Berg tells me. “We’re betting a lot of them.” CAA, on the other hand, is confident it’ll keep a goodly portion. Nevertheless, Berg is demonstrating that Resolution can shake loose established major agents with prestigious client bases who want quicker advancement. “Adam and Martin will play a key role in the development of our new agency,” Berg said in a statement.
Kanter is the son of longtime agent, producer and studio executive Jay Kanter who was Marlon Brando’s first agent and a protege of the legendary Lew Wasserman. The young Kanter joined CAA in 1989 and built a client list that includes: director Doug Liman and producer David Bartis of Hypnotic (The Bourne Identity), Peter Segal and Michael Ewing (Get Smart) filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Entourage creator Doug Ellin, actor and producer Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment (The Pursuit Of Happyness), Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and Parenthood’s Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Other clients Kanter represented at CAA include Malcolm Lee (The Best Man), Brian Kirk (Luther), Joe Johnston …
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the CAA talent agent Isabella Brewster who turned manager is turning back into a talent agent. She starts at Jeff Berg’s Resolution Agency on Monday. Sources say the tenpercentery likes that Brewster specializes in young talent, especially ethnically and racially diverse talent (Hispanics, African-Americans, etc). She left CAA last April (CAA About To Undergo More Agent Exits). She is the younger sister of actress Jordana Brewster, co-star of TNT’s Dallas and Universal’s upcoming Fast & Furious 6.
2ND UPDATE, 6:20 PM Writethru: It’s official. Resolution Agency Chairman Jeff Berg announced just now that, after 15 years at ICM, talent and literary agent David Unger is joining. Unger is the first ICM agent to move to Berg’s new agency. Next will be lit agent Robert Lazar. Both agents had been Berg proteges with Unger taking international lead at ICM for over a decade. It looks like he will play the same role at Resolution. Unger is best known for resurrecting the career of Mickey Rourke in the Oscar-nominated role in The Wrestler. Unger’s clients include Mickey Rourke, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Steve Coogan, Lindsay Lohan, Naomi Campbell, Gong Li, Anil Kapoor, Natalia Vodianova, Fred Durst, Courtney Love, Johnny Hallyday, Emmanuelle Seigner, Olivier Martinez, Vincent Perez as well as directors Tony Kaye, Johan Renck, Malcolm Venville, Michael Haussman and screenwriter Roger Avary among others.
Unger left ICM Partners today when he’d secured his release to head to Berg’s new agency. My sources say Unger always intended to leave ICM Partners after Berg’s exit and didn’t want a partnership under Chris Silbermann’s and Rick Levy’s management buyout. I hear one of the well-liked Unger’s roles will be to lead ”the younger generation” at Resolution. Unger will continue to represent film and television actors, directors and writers, and also serve in Resolution’s media finance group. Unger will be based in the agency’s Century City offices.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with David for more than 15 years. He’s an …
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Alexander was not just a very popular CAA talent agent for 10 years but also Heath Ledger’s, Jeff Bridges’ and Natalie Portman’s rep. After Ledger’s death, he left the agency business to go into management and independent production including 3 years with Atlas Entertainment. Now I’ve learned he’s joining Jeff Berg‘s Resolution Agency as a senior agent in the film and talent area. I’m told he was intensely sought after by many of the top agencies when it became known he wanted to return to the tenpercent business. Alexander was instrumental in building the career of Ledger, recognized posthumously with an Academy Award for best supporting actor for portraying The Joker in The Dark Knight. His other clients also included Kim Basinger, Orlando Bloom, Johnny Knoxville, Chow Yun-Fat, Joy Bryant, Peter Gallagher, Emmy Rossum and Eddie Izzard. Alexander began working for Joel Silver before on his own producing Swimming with Sharks. UPDATE: Resolution just issued a news release: “I am thrilled Steve is joining Resolution as we accelerate the growth of our motion picture and television groups,” said Berg. “Steve’s respect among the executive and creative communities speaks for itself as does his invaluable knowledge of the industry and his unique ability to connect with actors.” Added Alexander: “I am excited to be working with Jeff and his team at Resolution. While I thoroughly enjoyed producing and gained invaluable experience from it, the opportunity to return to my first love of building …
TUESDAY AM UPDATE: First, you should know that Jeff Berg and his new Resolution Agency colleagues thought this caption contest was hilarious. Like, duh, they know how old they are. They also know that they’re wiser and richer and badder than all you wusses who complained it was ageist. That said, I’d advise the four to hire a good stylist - geez, any stylist – next time their photo is taken. As for the contest itself, the captions were so effing funny I laughed until I cried. (Why can’t SNL hire you Borscht Belt comics?) And the winners are:
Disney wonders how it will break it to the original Star Wars actors that they won’t be in Episode 7.
We’re the four guys who believe McG can actually tell a story.
“Dear Gentlemen, Thank you for your interest in Kappa Alpha. We regret to inform you that we have no interest in sponsoring you at Adams. In the future we recommend you not include a group photo.”
The first thing they resolved is the age-old question: Jerry’s Deli, or Cantors???
Asked about competing with younger agents, Berg said, “What? I can’t hear you. Please speak louder.”
Resolution’s first order of business was an attempt to put the gay rumors to rest. Yes, it turns out, they all use Ben Gay.
FRIDAY 10 PM: A rival tenpercentery sent over this authentic photo of the brand new Resolution Agency together at Pollstar Live! for the ”Meet The Agents” networking session with most of the concert promoters from …
I just obtained a draft copy of Jeff Berg’s news release announcing his Resolution full-service talent and literary agency. There’s not much new compared with what I scooped on Sunday (EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Berg Opens New Agency ‘Resolution’ Monday; UPDATE: Investor ID) except that principal investor Jahm Najafi will serve on Resolution’s Board of Directors:
Jeffrey Berg has announced the formation of Resolution, a new full-service talent and literary agency, which has opened in Los Angeles and New York. Mr. Berg, who served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ICM for 27 years, will be the Chairman of Resolution. Entertainment entrepreneur, film and television producer and music agent Jeff Franklin, will serve as Chief Operating Officer.
“As a founding shareholder, I am delighted to partner with Najafi Companies, a strategic private investment firm in the media industry, and Jeff Franklin, a recognized agent and builder in the music business, to launch Resolution. I look forward to working with an exceptional and diverse team of talents to provide our clients with the highest level of advisory and transactional services.” Mr. Najafi will serve on Resolution’s Board of Directors along with Mr. Berg and Mr. Franklin. Jahm Najafi, CEO of Najafi Companies added, “There is no smarter, strategic and knowledgeable agent than Jeff Berg. We look forward to sharing and building this progressive agency in an evolving entertainment marketplace.”
“We are fortunate to have Jahm and his team as our financial partners,” Mr. Berg said. “They are respected and experienced investors who share our passion for the worldwide entertainment community and bring deep critical industrial insights to our company.”
Mr. Franklin added, “With new office space secured and construction completed, our focus is to now expand the recruitment of agents to create a new enduring institution in our industry. Resolution will be active in all of the critical entertainment areas: film, television, theater, music, literary publishing, digital media, and marketing consultation.”
Resolution will focus on the core functions of talent representation but will also provide a wide range of financial and advisory services including the sale of libraries and catalogues, financial transactions for media companies, raising capital for independent and studio films, providing restructuring advice and the sale and licensing of independently financed films and television series to the domestic and international markets.
“After a long run at my former company, I want to re-engage in a new business again as an owner-operator, and Jahm and Jeff became my logical partners,” Mr. Berg stated. “Resolution has a business plan that allows for internal growth, and it also has the committed capital for outside strategic acquisitions.”
The executive team will include former WME Vice President of Finance and Controller Laura Li who will become Resolution’s Chief Financial Officer; former Universal Pictures and MGM senior international marketing and distribution executive Randy Greenberg who will serve as Co-Head of Operations and Business Development; and former Universal Pictures Executive-Vice President of Business Affairs and former CEO of Intermedia Pictures Jon Gumpert will act as General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs.
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE 7 PM: I can now reveal the identity of Jeff Berg’s principal investor and financial partner. His name is Jahm Najafi, a former Salomon Bros banker active in real estate and private equity with investments in diverse companies and brands. According to news reports, he isn’t in the deal-making stratosphere, but the CEO of Phoenix-based private equity firm Najafi Companies is in the mix of many high-profile deals. MORE BELOW
EXCLUSIVE 1:54 PM: Inside 1801 Century Park East on the entire 23rd floor, Jeff Berg‘s new full-service Resolution agency capitalized with about $200 million is opening its doors on Monday. The offices are still being painted and the bathrooms are a work in progress. But the longtime ICM Chairman at age 65 just moved into the new space this weekend now that the phones and Internet are up and running and the conference room is finished. Today he’s calling clients. He’s already more than a week ahead of schedule. Over the next six months, Hollywood and New York and Nashville will witness a series of announcements about agents being hired from the top tenpercenteries and midlevel executives being culled from the Industry. Most are still in secret negotiations on Resolution contracts, others are signing non-disclosure agreements, several are in the process of being raided, and still more are daily dialing Berg to inquire about coming over. Their own companies don’t know they’re even contemplating departures. There hasn’t been a major full-service agency start-up like this since Endeavor was formed in 1995 by four former ICM agents who left Berg et al in a midnight stealth. Resolution will keep making headlines as Berg slowly builds his film/TV/talent/literary/music/publishing/digital tenpercentery to an anticipated staffing level of 35 agents plus support staff in LA, 25 agents in NYC, and 10 agents in Nashville. He’s still not settled on his Manhattan office, looking at a variety of spaces in Midtown, Downtown, Chelsea. “He’ll figure that out,” an insider tells me.
It only took him 8-to-10 weeks to set up Resolution doing it primarily by mobile phone, a gmail account, and temporary digs. Berg already has Resolution’s executive infrastructure put together: his COO will be his new partner, former music agent Jeff Franklin, CFO will be former William Morris Agency Finance Director Laura Li, and chief counsel will be former Universal Business Affairs’ Jonathan Gumpert (father of Andrew Gumpert who runs business affairs at Sony Pictures). Still to come is a “people person” senior agent who will function as the catalyst to help keep morale at a high level — because no one knows better than Iceberg what his reputation was and still is. I understand that Berg and Franklin went far with a top CAA senior agent who ultimately stayed put.