EXCLUSIVE: Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment has signed a talent deal with Zack Gottsagen, the breakout star of The Peanut Butter Falcon. Under the pact, Kapital intends to develop a series-starring vehicle for Gottsagen, who made Oscar history this year as the first person with Down syndrome to present at the marquee awards show.
The Peanut Butter Falcon marked the feature acting debut for Gottsagen, who had studied acting since he was a kid and worked as an usher at his local movie theater while pursuing his dream of becoming a movie star.
Kaplan watched the movie, in which Gottsagen stars opposite Shia LaBeof and Dakota Johnson, with his family over the holiday break in December. Everyone was blown away by Gottsagen’s performance, leading to Kaplan’s decision to seek out the actor for a potential TV series.
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“I was so moved by Zack from the moment he was on screen,” Kaplan said. “His gentle, optimistic and authentic performance helped to make The Peanut Butter Falcon one of the best films of the year. I am honored that Zack is allowing me to be his partner.”
This marks the first talent deal for Kapital. It is not a business the indie studio plans to be in except for unique cases like Gottsagen. The actor will serve as producer on a show developed for him, which his manager, Joel Zadak, will executive produce through Artists First.
Gottsagen’s role as aspiring wrestler Zak in the buddy comedy-drama The Peanut Butter Falcon has earned him accolades, including the Rising Star Award at the 2020 Palm Springs Film Festival and the 2020 Newcomer Award from the Hollywood Critics Association. The film, which premiered at South by Southwest, was a sleeper hit, pulling in over $20 million to become the highest-grossing indie film of 2019.
Gottsagen’s agent is KMR’s Gail Williamson who represents a lot of actors with disabilities and has been a longtime advocate for actors with special needs. Both Williamson and Zadak have sons with Down syndrome.
Additionally, Gottsagen is repped by attorney Priya Verma at Morris Yorn.
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