EXCLUSIVE: Just a day after I confirmed and broke news that David Ayer had jumped to WME, the writer-director has had a change of heart and decided he will stay at CAA with Todd Feldman, the agent who has repped him his entire career. Artists can be very emotional people, and we’ve seen them move to another agency and then come back. But I’ve never seen that cycle play itself out in one day, and this goes from being a big signing for WME to bringing a big sigh of relief for CAA as the competition between the major agencies continues.
I’m told Ayer was courted and had a moment when he felt it was time to make a move but that he reconsidered and took it back. When I broke the bombshell move yesterday, the reaction I received in the community was one of surprise, given where Ayer’s career is and his long association with his agent. He most recently wrapped the upcoming Warner Bros DC pic Suicide Squad, and next directs Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in the Max Landis-scripted Bright. The latter will bring him a career-high payday that was part of a package deal when Netflix committed to one of the biggest movie package auctions in recent years at around $90 million for the production budget, talent fees and projected backend that the movie might have made if it got a traditional theatrical release.
Ayer, who became a writer after a stint as a submariner in the U.S. Navy, made his breakthrough writing the Antoine Fuqua-directed Training Day and followed with pics End of Watch and Fury, the latter two of which he directed, along with Street Kings and Sabotage. Suicide Squad stars Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and Ben Affleck and opens August 5. Ayer is lawyered by David Weber.