A new, still-unnamed management company has been quietly hiring agents from the three Hollywood big agencies — Creative Artists Agency, Endeavor, and United Talent Agency. Four of CAA’s most prominent agents quit on Aug. 23, and agents have been slowly leaving other firms over the last several months.
For the agents moving to the new firm, they expect to have fewer constraints and more opportunities to make money, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, when agents have faced pay cuts, layoffs, and furloughs.
The new group, backed by former CAA agent Peter Micelli, has developed a rivalry with the existing agencies, according to the Hollywood Reporter. However, it remains to be seen how much leverage the big three agencies will have to fight back against this new agency.
The new firm has proven especially controversial because one of the first public backers, hedge fund CEO Steve Cohen, is a prominent Donald Trump supporter who helped to fund the 2017 inauguration. Cohen’s hedge fund was sued for sexual harassment in 2018, and paid a $1.8 billion fine for insider trading charges in 2013 following a Security and Exchange Commission investigation.
This reflects a longtime trend in Hollywood, as more and more novice agents are enticed by the greater flexibility offered to managers. This trend has also affected the major agencies to some degree. CAA, for example, has gotten into production.
The agents’ exodus is expected to bring a host of well-known talent to the new firm. The Hollywood Reporter says that Taron Edgerton, Tom Hardy, and Keira Knightley may be heading to the new shop, and Tiffany Haddish and Margot Robbie may be considering new deals.