UPDATE 7:50 PM: I’ve just been given this exclusive statement from Paul Bloch at Rogers & Cowan: “After a 30-year association with Creative Artists Agency, Robert Zemeckis has decided to take a hiatus with the firm and step back for the time being. Mr. Zemeckis is very appreciative of the work they have accomplished together. He has no immediate plans for representation by a different agency.”
EXCLUSIVE 6:45 PM: My sources tell me the Academy Award-winning director of Forrest Gump exited the agency on Thursday. Robert Zemeckis has been a long-time CAA client dating back to Mike Ovitz when he and Jack Rapke, now Zemeckis’ producing partner, were the director’s agents. In more recent years Zemeckis was repped by Richard Lovett at the head of a team of agents. Zemeckis’ legendary career had cooled in recent years especially because of the uneven reception of his repeated use of motion capture technology. But he was considered back on top with the success of 2012’s Paramount actioner Flight which earned two Academy Award nominations including Best Actor (for Denzel Washington). And Zemeckis accomplished that and its $161M worldwide gross with only a $30 million budget. (Rapke brought Zemeckis the script and told the director that Washington was interested.) Since August 2011, Zemeckis has a two-year first-look producing deal with Universal Studios where he made his worldwide mega-hit Back To The Future threequel. I can tell you that, unlike many such situations involving major Hollywood talent contemplating an agency exit, there was no hint about this in the tenpercentery world where intel is currency. Needless to say, it’s always tough when an agency loses this caliber of prestigious and respected and visionary client (the USC School of Cinematic Arts houses the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts), and CAA doesn’t lose many – that’s for sure. So expect a feeding frenzy in the future to represent Zemeckis. In fact the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this month presented a new digital restoration of Zemeckis’ groundbreaking Who Framed Roger Rabbit in celebration of the toon-and-live action pic’s 25th anniversary. Zemeckis heads ImageMovers which since its founding in 1997 has produced Cast Away (which Zemeckis directed and won a Best Actor nomination for Tom Hanks as did Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump) and The Polar Express. From 2007 to 2010, Disney and Zemeckis ran the Marin County-based joint animation facility ImageMovers Digital which produced two performance captured animated films, A Christmas Carol, and Mars Needs Moms, until the studio shut it down in 2010. Zemeckis’ other movies include Romancing The Stone, Death Becomes Her, Contact, What Lies Beneath, and Beowulf.