EXCLUSIVE: This is a cautionary tale for every Hollywood manager who’s spending a lot of time producing. Such is the case with Erwin Stoff. The 3 Arts Entertainment president has repped Keanu Reeves for something like 32 years (ever since the actor was 16 years old). The Stoff-Reeves relationship has long been considered one of Hollywood’s most enduring. Until recently. I’ve learned it’s now very much on the rocks. “Keanu Reeves very quietly left 3 Arts. Then he was recently convinced to stay at 3 Arts but with different reps,” says one of my sources. “Handling him now are Tom Lasally, Nick Frenkel, and David Miner. It’s an attempt to save the client.” I’ve confirmed this with several other insiders, too, even though Stoff denied any rift to me. I am told independently that “there’s no rancor”.
Stoff of course has been a producer or executive producer on many of Reeves’ films dating back to 1991 — including Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Feeling Minnesota, The Devil’s Advocate, The Matrix, The Replacements, Sweet November, Constantine, A Scanner Darkly, The Lake House, Street Kings, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and most recently as exec producer of Universal’s troubled 47 Ronin. That Keanu starrer from first-time feature director Carl Rinsch has been plagued by a swelling budget, a reshoot, two release date delays, and bad publicity — prompting the studio to work side by side with Rinsch in the editing room which is highly unusual these days.
But increasingly Stoff is producing a lot of films not starring Reeves — credits and paychecks Stoff probably never would have enjoyed without Keanu as leverage over the years. Right now, for instance, he’s in London producing All You Need Is Kill and that’s where I reached the manager. I’m told that Reeves’ principal problem stemmed from Stoff’s producing time commitments. “Keanu for 20 years was so used to talking to Erwin all the time. But Erwin is very busy producing now,” one insider explains. But another source also tells me, “Keanu has been frustrated with Erwin for a while, with the massive 47 Ronin problems and lack of material for him. Also Reeves’ sister is now in the actor’s life in a big way, and she did not like Stoff.”
The result is that, according to one insider, Keanu “decided to stay with 3 Arts but it was a bumpy road. There was not a parting of the ways, but there was a little bit of a separation.” As one of my sources explained, Keanu “is still with the company but those [other 3 Arts] guys now take care of him and his business. The spin inside 3 Arts is that ‘Keanu wants to return to a higher profile so different 3 Arts reps were brought in.'”
I hear other managers already are circling Reeves but he has not formally taken any meetings elsewhere. He is presently editing his movie Man Of Tai Chi that he starred in, directed and filmed in China with investors there. CAA’s Beijing office helped set up what’s described as his dream project.