Two new agents have joined Jeff Berg’s Resolution as the agency builds up following a number of departures in recent months. Talent agent Rachel Sheedy comes to Resolution after spending sixteen years repping actors in film, TV, and theater for Don Buchwald & Associates in New York. She’ll now work out of Resolution’s LA office on Century Park East.
Along with Sheedy, Jennifer Good recently joined the company’s TV lit department after departing The Alpern Group, where she repped writers and directors in TV and film with an emphasis on the international marketplace. She also did stints at Susan Smith & Associates and spent six years as a lit agent at The Bruce Brown Agency repping TV writers. Good also spent three years as a lit manager at Anonymous Content focusing on transitioning feature writers and directors into TV. It’s been a chaotic year for the 1 1/2 year-old agency. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After less than a year heading the TV lit department at Jeff Berg’s Resolution,Dennis Kim has moved on to being a manager. In the latest of several departures from the newish agency, the former Rothman Brecher Kim partner left Berg’s shop two weeks ago. The vet agent has landed as a partner at Bungalow Media + Entertainment LA office and their Storied Media Group, I’ve learned.
The management/production company was started back in 2013 by former ICM Partners agent Todd Hoffman, who reps Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Nebraska writer Bob Nelson among others.Kim’s clients joining him at his new gig include Suits creator-showrunner Aaron Korsh; Copper co-creator/Executive Producer Will Rokos; Bridget Tyler, creator/Co-Executive Producer of the USA pilot Horizon; Tom Scharpling (Monk, The Best Show); Joe Halpin (The Lottery, Hawaii 5-0); Nora and Lilla Zuckerman (Suits, Haven, Human Target); and feature writer Eric Tipton (Valiant One). With high hopes of making big inroads in the lucrative TV lit biz, Resolution made a big deal of gaining Kim last year a year after the agent was made partner at his former employer after 12 years there. With all that and the efforts to build a new agency, this loss surely leaves a big gap at Resolution going forward.
EXCLUSIVE: Dean Fluker has been promoted to agent at Resolution after joining its talent division when Jeff Berg opened the company’s doors early last year. Fluker, 29, worked his way up from assistant to coordinator in that time. He began his career booking talent as a student at the University of Iowa and worked for then-Senator Barack Obama on his 2008 presidential campaign. Fluker also served as a political appointee working on President Obama’s healthcare bill and on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative before returning to the entertainment industry. Prior to Resolution, he served as an agent trainee in ICM’s motion picture talent department.
EXCLUSIVE: Resolution, the talent agency founded by former ICM chief Jeff Berg early last year, continues to change form. The agency has confirmed the exit of Jeff Franklin, the music agent who was COO and a key partner when Berg jumped ship and formed the new agency with backing from Jahm Najafi, a former Salomon Bros banker active in real estate and private equity with investments in diverse companies and brands. I’m told that Franklin shed the COO stripes a year ago. The agency would not comment beyond that.
Related: Jeff Berg Opens New Agency ‘Resolution’ Monday; Investor ID’d
I had heard that Franklin would be exiting for months, but it was difficult to get clarity until now. Resolution has found it a challenge to form an agency in the current climate where CAA, WME, UTA, ICM and Paradigm are all well established. Berg left ICM Partners somewhat acrimoniously when the partners of that agency discovered that he was setting up shop elsewhere. Berg then made some high profile hires, paying big bucks to land Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer from CAA, but they had trouble keeping clients like Doug Liman and Peter Segal. When those agents were asked to take pay cuts despite having contracts, they declined and exited. Both of them have resurfaced at Paradigm. Some at the agency felt that Resolution would be better suited not chasing star agents, but growing organically. I’ve heard that the lavish headquarters on 1801 Century Park East have been downsized a bit — the agency took the whole 23rd floor, and that they would absorb the growing pains that any percentery would experience trying to launch in this environment.
Related: Resolution Agents Martin Spencer, Adam Kanter Exiting; Paradigm Next Stop?
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EXCLUSIVE: After a long chase, Resolution has signed Cary Murnion & Jonathan Milott, the duo whose horror comedy Cooties debuted at Sundance last January. The film got good notices at Park City for its darkly comic horror premise of zombie-like kids terrorizing their school. The film was produced by Elijah Woods company SpectraVision, and stars Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, and Jorge Garcia. Lionsgate bought it after its premiere at the Egyptian Theater. Murnion & Milott are also commercial directors at their company Honest, which is New York based. The pair continue to be managed by Principato/Young Entertainment.
Bill Bellamy has signed with Resolution in all areas. He stars in and executive produces the syndicated comedy Mr. Box Office and toplined the Showtime specials Crazy Sexy Dirty and Bill Bellamy’s Ladies Night Out and exec produced and hosted last month’s Centric Comedy All Stars. Bellamy also is a recurring co-host on The Rachael Ray Show and appeared in the 2013 feature 10 Rules For Sleeping Around. He is managed by Barry Katz.
Jonny Campbell has inked with Verve. The UK-based TV director also has signed to helm the BBC/HBO adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. The Warner Bros-produced project will premiere on the BBC before airing on HBO. Campbell directed last year’s BBC Three miniseries In The Flesh and has helmed multiple episodes of UK series including Doctor Who, Shameless, Ashes And Ashes and Phoenix Nights. He is repped in the UK by 42.
This is one agency war that has ended with a veiled whimper rather than a drawn-out legal drama. More than six months after Jeff Berg’s Resolution took ICM Partners to court over his former agency’s repeated insistence that it was entitled to commissions on deals made by its former agents, the plug has been pulled on the battle. Terms of the settlement have not been revealed, but Resolution filed for a dismissal on March 24. “Essentially, both gangs put down their knives,” a source close to the situation tells me.
Related: Resolution Sued By Month-Long Agent Poached From ICM
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Taryn Manning has signed with Resolution. She recently was upped to regular for Season 2 of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and recurs on Hawaii Five-O as Steve McGarrett’s ne’er-do-well sister. Her big-screen credits include Redemption Road, Hustle & Flow and 8 Mile. Upcoming features include Almost Broadway and #Horror. She continues to be repped by the Syndicate and Felker, Toczek, Gellman, Suddleson.
Lavell Crawford has inked with Innovative Artists. He recurred on Breaking Bad as Saul Goodman’s bodyguard Huell Babineaux and has appeared on The Crazy Ones, Super Fun Night and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and also tours as a stand-up comic. Crawford next will be seen in the feature Evil Nature. He continues to be managed by Anonymous Content.
BREAKING: Even as Jeff Berg was locking down an investment in the agency this week from Beijing-based Bison Capital, rumors raced that other less desirable shakeups were about to happen. We are hearing that veteran motion picture agents Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer, longtime CAA agents who left to join Resolution last year, were escorted out of Resolution headquarters tonight and likely are on their way to Paradigm. Each of the agents brought key clients with them — Kanter brought Doug Liman and Pete Segal, only to see them leave. This is the hard part of trying to launch a talent agency in a most competitive climate, luring agents in as you build enough clientele to enable packaging. It tests client loyalties. I hear they were asked to take pay cuts and didn’t want to. More coming as I hear more about a developing situation.
Related: Director Doug Liman Returns To CAA
EXCLUSIVE: Resolution has signed new directors Nadav Schirman and Mike Tully. Schirman’s first film, the Israel-Germany co-production The Champagne Spy, won the Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary, was nominated for the European Film Prize, and won the John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature. It is being remade by Bille August and producer Uli Limmer. Schirman followed with In The Darkroom, a feature length docu that is part of a trilogy that continues with The Green Prince, based the nonfiction book Son Of Hamas. Schirman is produced by Schirman through his Frankfurt based A List Films GmbH, in collaboration with Oscar winning producers John Batsek (One Day In September) and Simon Chinn (Man On Wire).
Also signed is Tully, whose Sundance film Ping Pong Summer came out of that festival with a deal from Gravitas.The film stars Susan Sarandon, and centers on an awkward teen who attempts to become a master breakdancer, ping pong player and ladies man all before the end of a summer break in 1985. The film is based on Tully’s own childhood experiences.
In the first deal involving a Chinese company taking a financial stake in a Hollywood talent agency, Jeff Berg’s Resolution said today that Beijing-based Bison Capital Holdings has made an investment in the company. The deal means Resolution will advise and consult for Bison, whose founder Peixin Xu serves as an independent director of China’s Bona Film Group, which is 17%-owned by 21st Century Fox. Also, News Corp China Investments CEO Jack Gao will join Resolution’s board of directors. “This partnership will allow us to fund strategic expansion in the global marketplace,” Berg said in announcing the deal today. Bison’s China-based media investments include AirMedia Group, a provider of advertising platforms outside of the home in China. David Unger, the first agent from Berg’s former home ICM to join Resolution after its founding in January 2013, was key in the Bison deal; in addition to film and TV clients he guides Resolution’s media finance group and is the main player on the international side. Berg said Unger will “be coordinating our new China activities as we build our presence in Beijing with Bison.”
Paula Deen is looking to grow her brand again less than a year after being dropped from her high-profile gig at Food Network. Paula Deen Ventures — which includes Paula Deen Foods, Paula Deen Media, Paula Deen Restaurants, Paula Deen Cookware and Paula Deen Home — is being backed by Najafi Media, the deep-pocketed content and distribution subsidiary of Najafi Cos. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it is: Founder and CEO Jahm Najafi was the principal investor and financing partner who with Jeff Berg launched Resolution talent agency in January 2013 — the first major full-service agency start-up in almost two decades. Paula Deen Ventures will be run by retail veteran Steven Nanula, who for the last two years led the development of the Paula Deen Food Company.
Nanula told the Wall Street Journal the company is in talks with TV networks and other possible partners, but no deals have been signed. The WSJ says the investment is from $75 million-$100 million.
Najafi is a former Salomon Bros banker active in real estate and private equity. The Phoenix-based firm has been in the mix of several deals as it adds to its entertainment industry holdings, which include ownership stakes in the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, Direct Brands (BMG Music Service, SkyMall, Columbia House and Book Of The Month Club), and Toronto-based recorded media manufacturer Cinram. “All of us at Najafi Companies have a deep respect for the hard work, unique content and quality products which Paula has built around her brand,” Najafi said today in a release announcing the partnership with Deen. “We know that the enterprise will be successful and valuable, as Paula and her team continue to bring quality products and experiences to her loyal fan base; and now we have a proven management team in place to build and lead the organization.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Resolution just signed Clifton Collins, Jr., in all areas. I’ve been watching this guy since he went mano a mano with Samuel Jackson in the Kevin Reynolds-directed One Eight Seven and his turn as murderer Perry Smith in Capote. He most recently co-starred in Pacific Rim and shot the Wally Pfister-directed Transcendence for Warner Bros and then back to back Terrence Malick projects Knight Of Cups and another that doesn’t yet have a title. Collins, who had been repped by APA, is managed by Industry Entertainment and attorney David Krintzman.
Katie Cates joins Resolution from the Kaplan Stahler Agency. She brings with her clients Daniel Knauf, showrunner of NBC’s Dracula and creator of HBO’s Carnivale; William Schmidt; female comedy duo Magee & Millan (Us & Them); Crevello & Niedermeyer (NBC’s The Fifth Wheel); J. Mackye Gruber (The Butterfly Effect); and Brown & Todd (Defiance). Prior to Kaplan Stahler, Cates was a coordinator at Gersh. She joins another recent Resolution TV lit hire, veteran Paradigm agent Ian Greenstein.
Related: Resolution Takes ICM To Court Over Commissions Claims
Longtime Paradigm literary agent Ian Greenstein has left the agency to join Resolution. The move came at the end of Greenstein’s most recent contract at Paradigm. It is unclear which clients will follow him, but the list will likely include longtime client Steven Cragg.
EXCLUSIVE: Resolution has signed Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Sobol, whose action comedy The Art Of The Steal world premiered this month in a Gala slot at the Toronto Film Festival. Sobol wrote and directed the pic, which stars Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Chris Diamantopoulos and Kathern Winnick in a tale of two brothers (Russell and Dillon) at odds who also happen to be thieves pulling one last big score as long their tenuous truce holds up. Dimension Films acquired U.S rights last year before production started. Sobol, whose credits include his debut feature A Beginners Guide To Endings, which played at Toronto in 2010, remains repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Jamie Feldman.
Today saw the first public lawsuit against Jeff Berg’s Resolution Agency since the former ICM chief started his own tenpercentery back in January. Resolution was sued in LA Superior Court this morning for fraud, breach of contract, wrongful termination, and emotional distress in a 6-count complaint from Martin Beck (read it here). The LA-based agent and 30-year ICM vet joined Resolution on July 8th but was terminated on August 2nd. Beck booked acts for Vegas casinos and was recruited by Resolution COO Jeff Franklin over the early part of the summer. Among Beck’s clients at ICM were Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando and Frankie Valli who’s hot again because of Jersey Boys. Beck claims in today’s filing that he signed a two-year contract with Resolution for an annual salary of around $165,000 and contends that his severe medical issues would be accommodated. He maintains that he was not expected to bring any clients with him but Newton actually did come over as client. The 11-page complaint notes that the relationship between Beck and Resolution soured after the agency failed to get Valli as a client. Beck says that he was let go after a flurry of emails about his performance and medical condition and seeks his two-year contract salary of $320,000 plus legal costs and penalties under the Fair Employment Act. Additionally, the suit paints Resolution as “fledgling and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has signed with Resolution. Bachchan is considered the icon of the Indian film industry and recently starred in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. His breakthrough role was in the film Zanjeer which established his persona of the “angry young man” of Bollywood. Amitabh reworked the image of the Hindi film hero with major hits like Deewar, Sholay, Trishul and Don. He popularized the violent melodrama genre but had an equal flair for tragedies and comedies. Attesting to his popularity, the entire nation of India prayed for his recovery during a near fatal accident on a film set in 1982. The agency will look to build the Hollywood feature momentum that came with Gatsby. Bachchan was once set to star in the Warner Bros film Shantaram when the film got shelved because of the writer’s strike; it’s unclear whether he’ll be involved as it is coming back together with Joel Edgerton starring.