Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Robert De Niro Has Fired CAA

EXCLUSIVE: I've confirmed what my sources told me this afternoon: that Robert De Niro has left CAA.

The word is that he was dissatisfied with how CAA had serviced his production companies in film, television, etc.

But I'm still trying to confirm the second part of what my sources told me: that De Niro is going to Endeavor.

The very idea of him leaving CAA, where he's been a client for such a long long time, is astonishing.

I remember when Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett made it a top priority as soon as they took over CAA in 1995 to do everything they could to keep De Niro since he was tied so closely to departing Michael Ovitz.

And let's face it, "Bobby" had a fabulous career before then and since then. (Albeit more as a comic actor than a dramatic one.)

Then again, this is the week for shit to happen to Hollywood agencies.

CAA DeNiro Defense Hits Forward Button

250pxrobert_di_nero_actor_ralph_lauAn "anonymous top agent" from CAA posted this online comment on the departure of Robert DeNiro, which is now getting emailed all over town:

1. Why did Bobby leave us?

They promised they could turn back time.

They promised they could get him 20m a picture.

They promised they could get a release for his "Something happened," a Barry Levinson show biz pic that's has no market, and Mark Cuban lost a fortune on.

They promised they could get him the $1m production fee on every picture he does, that he and his partner put their names on, and do nothing to earn.

They promised they could convince Hollywood that they should still pay that 1m vig on top of his acting fees.

They promised him they'd find a respectable release for the Pacino picture he did last summer, that basically stars two 65 year old guys as detectives - while the audience is under 35, and has no interest in seeing.

As I said, they promised him they could turn back time, and make him 50 again, and relevant, and hot, and interesting to today's movie going audience.

And they probably promised that they'd find a way to erase the memory of all of America about the number of god-awful paycheck films he did during the past ten years.

DeNiro had a choice ten or so years ago. He could either go the Nicholson route - very selective, very particular, protect the brand - or go out sending himself up in tripe like Analyze this, which made money but turned him into that "old psycho guy."

And he could of concentrated on quality stuff, but instead wanted to keep funding his little empire in New York.

A year ago, Bobby came to us complaining that he was losing a fortune underwriting the film festival every year, and wanted us to find bigger corporate sponsors.

We tried, but the stumbling block was always the same thing: The corporations all thought that the Tribeca film festival was a not-for-profit organization, sponsored by the city. But when they got under the hood, they found out that it was all for the greater glory of Bobby and Jane and her husband, and the corporate stuff shied away from it. Bobby held us responsible for his own greed, his own avarice, and his own megalomania.

And it's just like the studios now ask us: Why should we pay this guy- who doesn't open a movie - the payoff to his production company, just so he can add his name as a producer.

Sure, there's more; he thought we should have delivered an Oscar for his paint-drying slow 3 hour Good Shepherd. But we couldn't.

And finally, if really want to understand why now, why today, look at the review today in Variety for the Pacino "86 Minutes" stinker. It's directed by Jon Avnet, (a career ending review), who just happens to be the director of Bobby's next movie. (With Pacino.)

Bobby blames everybody but himself for the way he's squandered his career, and refused lots of quality pictures because they wouldn't give him producer credit.

Good luck in the Hotel Business, pal.

Comment by a top CAA Agent