[ENTERTAINMENT] Hollywood's Managers Taking More Control
- 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
"While everybody is entitled to go off and do what they want, we're
disappointed," said partner Michael Rotenberg. "We spent many years
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