EXCLUSIVE: Will Ward and 13 others have exited the management company Roar to launch Fourward. The new venture is a diversified management, production, and investment company that starts with a lot of the clients and staff who were part of Roar. The intention is to build a beach head in TV/film management, music management, production, and corporate.
Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Aisha Tyler, Sharlto Copley, Luke Bracey, Luke Hemsworth, Alice Braga and Austin Stowell are among the clients who’ve moved to the new company. Music clients include Sony/Ten Music singer Elliphant, and teen singer/songwriter Hannah Hoberman (whose song Darker was part of the Wonder soundtrack).
The launch comes as two other founding partners left Roar to form Activist Artists with their clients earlier this week. Ward and his colleagues were already in the process of making their own move when that happened. Where has the double exit left Roar beyond a company with a cool name? I’m trying to find that out.
Fourward’s film/TV production and literary department will be run by Jon Levin, the former CAA agent who spent the past six months at Roar. Levin had a long run at CAA where he packaged such films as Shrek, Hook, Midnight Run, Ice Age, Where The Wild Things Are, The Leftovers, American Gods and many others. He was exec producer on the Oscar nominated animated film The Breadwinner.
Levin is closing a first-look television deal for Fourward with Fremantle Media, the company said.
Trent Blacket, the former managing director at Roar Asia-Pacific, moved over to Fourward to become its Head of Corporate. He will oversee the satellite offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Shanghai that previously were occupied by Roar. Peter Sung, who also served as a Managing Director in Roar’s Corporate Department, is the new Head of Ventures and will lead the firm’s work with VICE Media and Bloomberg, and oversee the New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul satellite offices.
In addition to management/production, Fourward will invest in global media opportunities. The Fourward entity Ward Blacket Investments LLC has been set up as a special purpose vehicle to deploy capital in partnership with Amalfi Capital, Ward said. Blacket brings clients and investments that include Virgin Hotels Nashville, Spaceship, Ivy Pay, Voyajoy, PINN Technologies, Nine Entertainment Company, Village Roadshow, Lowy Family Group, Donna Karan’s Urban Zen, Michael Hutchence Trust and VidCon Australia. Blacket recently structured a strategic partnership with iHeartMedia and VoiceByte that incorporates its technology into iHeartMedia’s radio, digital, live events and TV programs. Blacket also brought the singer Usher to host the first season of the talent-finding app Megastar, a global online talent search show.
Ward started in CAA’s music department and became a talent agent at Endeavor. He was a founding partner at Roar and ran its TV/film talent department. He also managed the Zac Brown Band for a decade and produced the Ron Howard-directed In The Heart Of The Sea for Warner Bros during his time there.
Of the new venture, Ward said, “I am incredibly excited about Fourward and the future. We have a dynamic team of diversely skilled and immensely experienced individuals who will help our clients expand their careers and businesses in ways that breaks molds and barriers like never before. I remain proud of what we accomplished at Roar. ”