UPDATE: I’m told that as of right now, Aloni’s top client Chris Nolan has not left the CAA fold. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes. There is speculation that Aloni could perhaps become a manager, or that he would land at WME. If the latter move is going to happen, it hasn’t yet because even that agency was caught off guard by what happened. I’ve also heard that no matter what happens, CAA is looking at a huge commission cushion from Nolan’s Inception, Batman trilogy and Superman, which he’s producing. The prospect of that revenue made it easier to decide life’s too short, which is evidently what happened between CAA and Aloni.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: In a major and surprising development, Dan Aloni has left CAA abruptly. I’m told it was the result of an eroding relationship with the agency and his coworkers. It sounds like his approach didn’t mesh with the CAA culture. I’ve heard that it led to his firing. Which just happened. Aloni came over to CAA in October 2005 after a long stint at UTA. He has an amazing list of writers and directors, including The Dark Knight Rises helmer Chris Nolan, Tom Shadyac, David Goyer, Michel Gondry, Dean Parisot and others. I’m not sure whether Aloni will move to another agency, and will follow this story as it develops. It does put a lot of clients in play, that’s for sure. I’ve heard that Aloni kills for his clients, but isn’t the easiest guy to get along with.
Back in 2005, CAA hired the UTA agent and partner by offering him and a half dozen other star tenpercenters at rival agencies a pile-load more money than they were earning. (Aloni had been smarting from UTA’s not elevating him to the UTA board after a restructuring.) Aloni’s defection unleashed a frantic feeding frenzy as both CAA and UTA fought for his clients. (UTA hung onto Judd Apatow and some others but lost about a dozen clients who followed Aloni.) Aloni’s departure contributed to the de-spoking of but UTA’s vaunted Comedy Wheel, which mixed a top list of comedy writers and directors to put together reasonably priced laffers and worked in up and comers to launch their careers. Besides Aloni, agents like Jason Heyman and Martin Lesak also left as did comedy clients like Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell. Since then Aloni has frequently been at odds with the CAA managers.
The question now is how many of Aloni’s clients CAA can hang onto. Internal meetings are taking place now.