EXCLUSIVE: While former ICM chief Jeff Berg is still assembling the pieces of his new agency, we know he’s going to get started with a strong book-to-movie department. Shari Smiley has signed on to join the agency, rejoining former CAA colleague Rich Green. Deadline revealed Saturday that Green left CAA Friday to join Berg’s new shop.
Smiley has for the last year operated her own business, The Smiley Group. Before that she spent almost 19 years at CAA, rising from receptionist to agent. Like Green, her specialty is putting together movie deals from bestselling books. Since she has been on her own, the deals Smiley has made include the Fox deal for Gillian Flynn’s bestseller Gone Girl, which had Reese Witherspoon attached and to which David Fincher is coming attached; Wild, the Cheryl Strayed bestseller that Nick Hornby is adapting for River Road and Witherspoon; and for client Quirk Books she has brokered film deals that include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, which is shaping up as a Fox property that Jane Goldman is scripting for Tim Burton to direct.
She worked closely at CAA with Green, who at that agency repped Grace Of Monaco‘s Arash Amel, Maleficent‘s Linda Woolverton, Rock Of Ages‘ Chris D’Arienzo, Mike LeSieur (the Black List script The Flamingo Thief which Will Ferrel will star in) and authors like Sliver Linings Playbook‘s Matthew Quick, The Corrections‘ Jonathan Franzen, Fight Club‘s Chuck Palahniuk, Snow Crash‘s Neal Stephenson, The Discovery of Witches‘ Deborah Harkness and Interview with the Vampire‘s Anne Rice.
Smiley’s transition of clients will be easier than Green’s because she ran her own business. No matter how the client situation shakes out, the two of them give Berg a most capable department.