On the eve of his Pirates of the Caribbean 2 shaping up to have the biggest movie opening ever, I’ve got exclusive news that Orlando Bloom has decided not to follow his ICM talent agent Chris Andrews to CAA. Instead, Bloom will be represented by manager Aleen Keshishian of Brillstein-Grey, ICM London’s Fiona McLoughlin (not ICM here), and attorney Patti Felker. This rejection is a big blow to Andrews and CAA. So let’s revisit Andrews’ recent leap from ICM to CAA. I’m told the story behind it is that, just a few days before his move, Chris found out that actor Josh Lucas had fired him for CAA. After some memorable turns in A Beautiful Mind and Sweet Home Alabama, Lucas had several recent clunkers in a row: Stealth, Glory Road and Poseidon (Lucas hoped he’d be the next Leo after that Warner’s embarrassment). But here’s the thing: I’ve learned that Andrews never told ICM that Lucas had left. Instead, Chris just jumped. And I’m told that, interestingly, Andrews will not be representing Lucas at CAA. Following Chris to CAA so far are Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Ben Kingsley, Felicity Huffman and Guy Pearce — all talented actors but none big movie stars. On the other hand, Andrews was anticipating Bloom to follow him to CAA. Jimmy Woods, who is the star of CBS’ new drama series Shark this fall, may stay at ICM. Which reminds me of a story he once told me about leaving CAA after his longtime agent there told him he was cold: After a year at ICM, he told his agent he was leaving. There was a moment of dramatic silence. Then Woods went on, “Because I’m working too much. I desperately need a vacation.” Cue the relief laughter.
Don’t get me wrong: Chris Andrews is a fine agent who was well-liked at ICM and trusted by topper Jeff Berg. ICM would rather have been celebrating their recent signings of Halle Berry, Bernie Mac, Edie Falco, David Strathairn, and director Guillermo del Toro. Sure, it’s exceedingly rare for ICM agents to jump to The Dark Side, aka CAA. But I’ve seen this happen before: veteran rep jumps at CAA’s offer of a 5-year contract that guarantees him more money than he’s making currently without having to go through the usual autumnal panic where his salary and bonus is determined by a computer model that factors in commissions, prestige, leadership, and such. As for why CAA would want Andrews, remember what I’ve told you here before: Richard Lovett took to heart the two essential guiding principles of the late Mark McCormack’s IMG: First, that the company was always more important than the clients, and, as far as the clients go, it didn’t matter if they were successful or mediocre; it was better to have them than not have them. The result is that Lovett’s mantra is market share, market share, market share. As Lovett likes to say, there won’t be a need for any other agency if CAA has everyone. Won’t that be a fun day in Hollywood.