EXCLUSIVE: When seasoned agents leave one major percentery for another, the tale is told by how many clients change addresses with them. Back in March, Stuart Manashil made the leap to WME after spending the past 6 1/2 years at CAA and before that spent six years at UTA. In what marks the third case — Dan Aloni and Warren Zavala were the first two — where agents pried their clients away from CAA, Manashil has strengthened WME’s writer-director roster quite a bit.
Related: Selena Gomez Signs With WME
Here’s who he brought with him: Read More »
Former Disney star and recording artist Selena Gomez has exited as a client of CAA and has signed with WME. The 21-year-old singer and ex-Wizards of Waverly Place actress has also signed with … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Writer Jay Reiss has signed with WME for representation. Reiss, who had been at CAA, co-wrote the award-winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the dark Julian Farino-directed comedy The Oranges. His movie … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Director Joe Johnston has signed with WME for representation. Johnston had been in play since agents Martin Spencer and Adam Kanter left Resolution to go to Paradigm. He had been with CAA with Kanter for a long … Read More »
Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis has signed with WME’s Ari Emanuel. The writer-director-producer had been without an agent since leaving CAA about a year ago after a 30-year affiliation. The filmmaker is readying an experiential 3D film To Walk the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Michael Kenneth Williams, better known as Chalky White if you have HBO and are as addicted to Terence Winter’s Boardwalk Empire as I am. Williams, who first made his mark on HBO’s The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Manashil has just joined WME as a literary agent in the Motion Picture Department. Manashil spent the last 6 1/2 years at CAA and before that spent six years at UTA. Now, the question is which … Read More »
The legal standoff between director Lynne Ramsay and the producers of Jane Got A Gun has ended in a draw, almost a year after the helmer abruptly left the pic on the first day of production. “Jane … Read More »
2ND UPDATE, 12:01 PM PT: After much back and forth Saturday involving Sony, Universal and a last-ditch overture from Warner Bros, Sony finally closed its deal for Winter’s Knight, the Viking-mythology-tinged origin story of St. Nick and Christmas. Sony emerged as front-runner when it agreed to pay $1 million to newbie scribes Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton, for the biggest spec sale of this year so far. That was the easy part. Deals were then made for producers Marc Platt and Lawrence Grey. More challenging was making a deal with the white hot Kon-Tiki helmers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, but that effort was led by incoming Sony Pictures Production President Michael De Luca. His persuasive pitch was that he plans to bring in the next generation of emerging filmmakers, much the way he did at ’90s New Line with the likes of David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson. That, and a precedent-setting mid-seven-figure salary for the directing team, sealed the deal. If Disney can keep to its schedule and get the next Pirates of the Caribbean to set sail before year’s end, the directors will make that after completing the pilot for the Netflix/Weinstein Company series Marco Polo, and Winter’s Knight will come after. Also intriguing is how this movie will lengthen the movie credit resume of L. Frank Baum, best known for The Wizard Of Oz. The subject matter is his 1902 book The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus. Of course, Baum’s work has fallen into public domain, meaning anyone can pillage it for movie ideas. At the rate Baum is going, with all the Oz incarnations and now this work being turned into big money Hollywood films, he might end up spinning in his grave almost as fast as Shakespeare, long Hollywood’s most heavily exploited public domain wordsmith. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Holliday Grainger has signed with WME for representation. The deal comes as the England native wraps Disney’s Cinderella, in which she plays mean stepsister Anastasia for Kenneth Branagh. Her credits include period pics like Mike Newell’s Great … Read More »
The agency has signed new client Digital Domain 3.0 as the visual effects company continues to bounce back out of a 2012 bankruptcy. Digital Domain’s current iteration was acquired last year by Sun Innovations which appointed … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rachel McAdams has signed with WME. The actress comes into the agency fold after starring most recently in the untitled Cameron Crowe film with Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper and Bill Murray, and after starring in the Anton … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Kenneth Lonergan, the screenwriter, director and playwright who was Oscar nominated for You Can Count On Me. Lonergan, who had been with CAA, just took meetings and WME brought him into the agency fold. Lonergan … Read More »
The three agents are leaving Paradigm to launch WME‘s Christian Music Division out of Nashville. Mike Snider, Kevin Huffman and Dan Rauter bring with them clients including Andy Mineo, CeCe Winans, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Kari Jobe, Kutless and Lecrae. Snider, who … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hot on the heels of getting an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Nebraska, Bob Nelson has signed with WME. Nelson wrote that script a decade ago and waited this long for Alexander Payne to make it. They’ve joked that they were waiting for Will Forte, Bruce Dern and June Squibb to reach the right ages, but the 57-year old Nelson’s sudden trajectory is remarkable. He has long been represented by Todd Hoffman, and he became in play after Hoffman left ICM to become a manager at Storied Media Group and took Nelson with him. Nelson took meetings with all the agencies this week.
Related: OSCARS Q&A: Bruce Dern Talks ‘Nebraska’
While it took a decade for his first script to get made, Nelson is looking to expedite the process considerably for his second film. He has finished a new script, The Confirmation, and intends to direct it. He’s going to reunite with Nebraska producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, who will begin to put the film together shortly. Read More »
In Hollywood’s latest “you stole my idea” case, a pair of screenwriters have filed a lawsuit claiming the Zooey Deschanel sitcom was based on their work. Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold claim that Fox’s New Girl and their 2006 pilot Square One contain similarities “so numerous and specific that independent creation was obviously impossible.” They name as defendants New Girl exec producer Peter Chernin, creator Elizabeth Meriwether, director Jake Kasdan, WME and Fox parent company 21st Century Fox.
Weighing in at 90-plus pages, the suit filed Thursday in California’s Central District (read it here) claims a laundry list of “similarities between the shows’ themes, structure, setting, overall story and plot arcs, specific plot devices, interpersonal twists, dialogue, sequence of events, tenor, specific scenes and elements of scenes, character identities, character personalities, character relationships, character interaction, character development, character idiosyncrasies, and character names require the conclusion that defendant Meriwether not only knew of Square One, but copied Square One to create New Girl.” The plaintiffs say their show was based on Counts’ personal experience, when she moved into a three-man bachelor pad after a divorce. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed rising helmer Gary Shore and his ArtCastle label. Shore directed the upcoming Universal Pictures film Dracula Untold. With producer Jonathan Loughran (The F Word), Shore operates ArtCastle … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime WME partner and senior motion picture literary agent Christopher Donnelly is leaving the agency to become a manager at LBI. This transition has been in the works for a few weeks and he will make the move immediately. It is being announced at the WME morning staff meeting as we speak. At LBI, Donnelly will continue to rep clients as manager and help build out the company’s production arm. He joins Rick Yorn. Donnelly has been working with Yorn and WME chief Ari Emanuel on the career of The Wolf Of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese since The Aviator.
Donnelly becomes the second partner on the feature side to exit in recent weeks, after Brian Swardstrom left to become a partner at UTA. Read More »