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[ENTERTAINMENT] Hollywood's Managers Taking More Control

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  • madchinaman
    Hollywood Managers Take Breakout Roles Six venture out to form their own firm as the talent business burgeons By Claudia Eller and James Bates Times Staff
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2003
      Hollywood Managers Take Breakout Roles
      Six venture out to form their own firm as the talent business burgeons
      By Claudia Eller and James Bates Times Staff Writers, Times Staff

      The newest management firm in Hollywood has no name. But it has
      snagged some of the biggest names in entertainment.

      Continuing a long tradition of entrepreneurial spinoffs by
      representatives of actors, directors and writers, a collection of six
      talent managers announced Wednesday that they had come together to
      create their own business.

      Among their top-tier clients: Reese Witherspoon, Tobey Maguire,
      Kirsten Dunst, Julianne Moore, Kiefer Sutherland, Mariah Carey
      and "Charlie's Angels" director McG.

      It's still unclear exactly which of these stars plan to join their
      managers at the new company. But most of them are expected to.

      So far, the venture's founders have been unable to agree on what to
      call their new firm. And whether they can learn to work
      collaboratively on even more complex issues remains to be seen.

      "This is a group of successful people banding together to build a
      company," said manager Brian Medavoy, a partner at Immortal
      Entertainment. "Whether or not they can merge those cultures into
      one" is something that "no one will know until they spend time

      The founders of the new firm -- none of whom agreed to be
      interviewed -- are Suzan Bymel, Guymon Casady, Eric Kranzler, Evelyn
      O'Neill, Daniel Rappaport and David Seltzer.

      Defections to form new companies aren't unusual, but the fallout when
      clients and executives depart can be financially and emotionally

      Industry Entertainment has been hit hard twice. Four years ago, two
      top managers left and took with them such stars as Leonardo DiCaprio
      and Cameron Diaz. Now, three more managers are taking "Spider-Man"
      stars Maguire and Dunst.

      "They have been very candid about their desire to do their own thing.
      I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't disappointed, but I understand
      the entrepreneurial spirit," said Industry partner Keith Addis, whose
      firm still represents Angelina Jolie, Ted Danson and Billy Bob

      Hollywood's talent agencies and management companies for years have
      spawned newer ones as agents and managers get restless and venture
      out on their own. The biggest talent group, Creative Artists Agency,
      was founded when Michael Ovitz and some colleagues split from the
      William Morris Agency in 1975. Endeavor Agency was formed when a
      group of agents left International Creative Management in 1995.

      The new management company is being created at a time when managers
      have proliferated in Hollywood, carving out a powerful position that
      sometimes puts them at odds with the talent agencies that have long
      dominated the business.

      Unlike regulated agents, managers enjoy a more freewheeling status.
      They orchestrate career moves and produce films and television shows
      in which their clients star.

      They are prohibited by law from procuring work for clients, which is
      supposed to be the exclusive job of talent agents. But talent
      agencies have long alleged that many managers blur that line,
      sometimes acting as de facto agents.

      The business is risky. The ambitious plans of now-defunct Artists
      Management Group, founded by former agent Ovitz in 1998, failed to
      materialize. Blending managers from different backgrounds also can
      prove tough. What's more, the six face competition from a host of
      powerful established managers, including Industry Entertainment,
      Brillstein-Grey, Mosaic Media and 3 Arts Entertainment.

      The largest, Brillstein-Grey, boasts nearly 200 clients, such as Brad
      Pitt, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and former New York Mayor
      Rudolph W. Giuliani.

      Although Industry Entertainment knew that three managers were on
      their way out, partners at 3 Arts were caught off guard by
      Rappaport's departure.

      "While everybody is entitled to go off and do what they want, we're
      disappointed," said partner Michael Rotenberg. "We spent many years
      nurturing" Rappaport.

      In a statement, Rappaport said he was indebted to 3 Arts. Casady,
      Kranzler and Seltzer issued a similar statement saying they are
      grateful to Industry. Bymel and O'Neill were partners at Talent
      Entertainment Group, representing such clients as Witherspoon and
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