UPDATE: Variety‘s report following mine is wrong. He can’t move to CAA unless he settles out his UTA contract.
EXCLUSIVE: This is the season for major moves in the agency business because of end-of-year contract negotiations. I’ve learned that talent agent Darren Statt has been in a months-long dialogue with the UTA bigwigs over his future at the agency. He wants to be let out of his contract to go to CAA, but United Talent says it is holding him to the pact for now. Statt, who surprisingly is still not a UTA partner, joined seven years ago after leaving Endeavor in 2002 after being suspended for two weeks by partner Ari Emanuel. (That unusual action followed an ugly tirade at the DreamWorks offices where witnesses say the Scotsman lost his temper and directed a profanity-laced tirade at the studio staffers over a scheduling mishap. The fracas caused Steven Spielberg to personally phone Emanuel and declare that Endeavor agents were not welcome at Dreamworks offices. But even that didn’t bother UTA’s Jeremy Zimmer who went to hire Statt.) Statt then moved to UTA where other partners had lingering concerns about specific Statt behavior issues, resulting in a prolonged internal debate about his future at the agency. Rather than face the uncertainty of his future at UTA, Statt tested the waters at CAA and asked to jump yesterday with his clients. His two biggest are “The Rock” aka Dwayne Johnson whose action pics and family films have turned the wrestler into a major Hollywood star who can reliably open a movie (something that’s increasingly rare these days). And Ryan Reynolds, who’s both a comedic leading man and now a superhero (Deadpool, The Green Lantern) of what is hoped to be the start of two major film franchises. Since those deals were made at UTA, the agency is counting on keeping all those commissions.