It is a story that has dominated conversations among talent agents and managers this week. As reported by several outlets, on Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office announced that Nicholas Roses, identified as a 21-year-old talent manager based in Studio City, Calif., has been charged with nine criminal counts. He has been accused of luring parents from small-town America to bring their children to his poorly run (according to the parents), expensive (at $3,000 a pop) acting workshops in Los Angeles with the promise to eventually sign the kids.
Why is the case getting so much attention in talent circles? Because Nicholas Roses is actually Nick Roses, a well-known youth talent manager working for established management company Luber Roklin Entertainment. Roses, who joined Luber Roklin a year ago, has been running the alleged scheme through his own company, and partner Matt Luber on Thursday told me they were unaware of Roses’ extracurricular activities. Immediately after Roses’ indictment Tuesday, he was suspended by Luber Roklin pending further investigation. His name has since been removed from the company’s staff directory on IMDb Pro. (Meanwhile, several talent agents and managers from other companies told me that many in the industry had known about Roses’ practices and expressed doubt that he could have kept them secret from his bosses.)
There is one other reason for this case being on everyone’s lips: Roses is not just a young turk, he has been a lightning rod. “I can’t think of anyone else of that age who is more hated,” one talent manager said. “He’s wronged a lot of people.” Roses has the reputation of an unscrupulous manager who has been building a client roster by aggressively poaching other managers’ clients, something accepted among agencies but generally frowned upon in talent management. As for allegedly making parents enroll their kids in his expensive boot camps as a condition to sign them, it is also a no-no for talent representatives. It also violates the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009, which prohibits talent reps from charging money upfront for the promise of securing jobs. If convicted, Roses could be sentenced to as long as seven years in jail and fined as much as $70,000.
It would be an abrupt career ending for one of Hollywood’s youngest talent representatives, nicknamed “Lil’ Nick Roses”, “the 10% Teen” and “The Shark.” From the size of his bio on IMDb, you wouldn’t tell he is only 21 as it’s longer than anyone else’s I’ve seen, including people with long careers like Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Taylor and Kirk Douglas. It is written in a self-promotional style that is more fitting for a telemarketer than a Hollywood agent. Here is the opening line: “July 22, 1989, Nicholas Tomas Roses was born in the City of Hollywood, Florida and had no clue that he was born to have an impact on the world.” Roses claims he started interning for a talent manager at age 12 and moved to LA to launch his own management company at 16. He did stints at the Cunnigham Escott Slevin Doherty Talent Agency and Alvarado Rey Agency and ran his Roses Entertainment Group — the company cited by the District Attorney as being behind the acting camps — for five years before joining Luber Roklin in April 2010.
In the end, for Roses to try to be a hot-shot Hollywood manager while his classmates were still in high school may not have been the wisest idea, as his young age may have played a role in the actions that led to his legal troubles. “He is a child,” one talent manager said. “He is a 21-year-old who acted as such and thought he would get away with it.”