The Highlight Reel
- CAA’s lit department had a heck of a month, signing Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin and Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan, both of whom are now writer-directors thanks to their upcoming films Molly’s Game and Wind River, respectively. Sorkin and Sheridan are two of the best writers in the biz and while Sorkin has always had a style all his own, we’re beginning to get a sense of what a Taylor Sheridan script sounds like. The Hell or High Water scribe continues to develop his voice as a filmmaker and a storyteller, and I, for one, can’t wait for Wind River. I also caught some footage from Molly’s Game at CinemaCon in March, and came away impressed. Sorkin is working with a juicy story there, so let’s hope his directorial debut is just as thrilling as the past films that he wrote.
- CAA also signed a pair of up-and-coming actors in Jack Kesy and Eve Hewson. Kesy recently appeared in Baywatch and was just cast as the villain in Deadpool 2, which should open a lot of doors for him. He’ll also be seen in Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake starring Bruce Willis and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced war movie Horse Soldiers starring Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon and Trevante Rhodes. Meanwhile, Hewson (the daughter of U2’s Bono) recently wrapped the role of Maid Marian in the new Robin Hood movie starring Taron Egerton. She previously worked with Steven Spielberg on Bridge of Spies and earned strong reviews for her turn as nurse Lucy Elkins on The Knick. The Irish actress will soon be seen in the Papillon remake starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek. There wasn’t a lot of young talent signed elsewhere this month, but WME nabbed new Dark Phoenix actor Lamar Johnson and The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun was a coup for UTA, while Paradigm welcomed Keith Powers (Straight Outta Compton) into the fold.
- ICM signed Terry Zwigoff, a really interesting director who Hollywood doesn’t seem to know what to do with anymore. I really enjoyed his Amazon pilot Budding Prospects, but the show didn’t get picked up. Zwigoff is due for a comeback, so here’s hoping his new reps find him something worthy of his unique brand of comic genius. His creativity is sorely missed in today’s marketplace.
- Speaking of shaking things up, I’m glad John Malkovich, Anthony Michael Hall and Olivier Martinez found new homes this month. Martinez was so good as Diane Lane’s lover in Unfaithful, and though he’s 15 years older now, his smoldering looks can still be put to good use. The 007 franchise has Bond Girls, right? Couldn’t we find a similar role for him in one of these female-driven action/spy movies? Hall has become a really interesting character actor of late, and Hollywood’s A-list has certainly noticed, given his roles in The Dark Knight, Foxcatcher, Live by Night and War Machine. He could keep tackling small supporting roles in big movies, or he could head back to TV if his new reps can find him a show like The Dead Zone with a role he can really sink his teeth into. The same goes for Malkovich, who keeps winding up in crap movies that don’t deserve him. The man is a two-time Oscar nominee! I’d like to see more directors use him the way Peter Berg did in Deepwater Horizon. Hell, give him his own TV show where he can interrogate someone as well as he did Andy Garcia in Jennifer 8.
- On the dealmaking front, CAA hired up-and-coming agent Danielle Shebby away from WME. She’s a rising star in the talent department, having worked with Janelle Monáe, Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Florence Pugh, Naomi Scott and Jared Abrahamson at WME. I’ve always liked Danielle, and wish her well at her new job. Congrats are also in order for Ryan Bartlett, who left UTA to launch his own Hyperion Talent Agency, and to Jon Levin, the longtime CAA agent who will now be a manager at ROAR. Good luck, gents!
- And finally, UTA has taken on the extraordinary challenge of resurrecting Billy Bush‘s career. Even before “the Trump tape” leaked, did anyone really like Bush, whose smile always felt a bit phony? I understand that Access Hollywood hosts have a certain job to do, but I’m of the belief that entertainment journalism should be left to actual entertainment journalists. But hey, that’s just me, and who the hell am I? Exactly…
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|Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game writer-director)||WME||CAA|
|Taylor Sheridan (Wind River writer-director)||Gersh||CAA|
|Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects writer-director)||UTA||CAA|
|Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers quarterback)||N/A||CAA|
|Danielle Shebby (MP Talent Agent)||WME||CAA|
|Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho writer-director)||CAA||ICM|
|Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (Hairspray/Chicago producers)||CAA||ICM|
|Terry Zwigoff (Bad Santa director)||WME||ICM|
|Billy Bush (former TV personality)||WME||UTA|
|Wim Wenders (Submergence director)||WME||UTA|
|Clay Walker (country music star)||N/A||UTA|
|Allan Loeb (21 writer)||CAA||WME|
|Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction writer)||CAA||WME|
|L.T. Hutton (All Eyez on Me producer)||N/A||APA|
|Casey James (country music star)||N/A||APA-Nashville|
|Anthony Michael Hall||N/A||Primary Wave|
|Rohit Kumar (13 Reasons Why writer)||ICM||Verve|
|Kristof Deak (Oscar-winning short film director)||N/A||Gotham Group|
|Pamela Gray (Megan Leavey co-writer)||UTA||Gersh|
|John Irving (The Cider House Rules author)||N/A||Gersh|
|Brian Weinstein (new President/COO)||CAA||Bad Robot|
|Ryan Bartlett (Talent Agent)||UTA||Hyperion Talent Agency|
|Jon Levin (Talent/Literary Agent)||CAA||ROAR|
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief