EXCLUSIVE: Longtime WME partner and senior motion picture literary agent Christopher Donnelly is leaving the agency to become a manager at LBI. This transition has been in the works for a few weeks and he will make the move immediately. It is being announced at the WME morning staff meeting as we speak. At LBI, Donnelly will continue to rep clients as manager and help build out the company’s production arm. He joins Rick Yorn. Donnelly has been working with Yorn and WME chief Ari Emanuel on the career of The Wolf Of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese since The Aviator.
Donnelly becomes the second partner on the feature side to exit in recent weeks, after Brian Swardstrom left to become a partner at UTA.
Donnelly started with Endeavor in 1996 and then transitioned to WME after the merger. He was promoted to agent in 1998 and made partner in late 2005. This is all unfolding in real time, so it is unclear which of those WME clients Donnelly will handle as manager. The move is being supported by WME brain trust, so there will be some clients shared. Donnelly’s clients at the agency have included Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Jonathan Glazer, Fernando Meirelles, William Monahan, Brad Anderson, Patrick Marber, Steve Zaillian, Jason Moore, Walter Salles, Ted Griffin, Michael Winterbottom, Alfonso Gomez Rejon, Asif Kapadia, Craig Pearce, Michael Pitt and Lynne Ramsay.
Said Yorn: “Having worked closely with Chris at his time at Endeavor and then WME for over a decade, we are ecstatic to have him joining us at LBI. He’s known to be amongst the best in the business, and his taste and sensibility fit in exactly with what we are building at LBI.”