Tolkin exits Wm. Morris

The screenwriter of “The Player” is in play.

Writer/director Michael Tolkin has ankled his five-year association with William Morris Agency, an agency spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

Tolkin confirmed that he has discussed representation with Creative Artists Agency, but has not yet inked with the firm.

In recent years, WMA orchestrated Tolkin’s directorial debut, “The Rapture”; director Robert Altman’s adaptation of Tolkin’s novel “The Player”; director Bill Duke’s production of Tolkin’s “Deep Cover” for New Line Cinema; the sale of Tolkin’s novel “Among the Dead”; and his current directorial effort, “The New Age.”

The agency had carved out a solid career for Tolkin despite tough-sell subject matter, so his exit from WMA was considered surprising among talent brokers.

Tolkin’s departure was viewed as particularly odd because WMA has long specialized in bringing together financing for the type of specialized features that have been the writer/director’s forte.

Tolkin cited CAA’s bringing Oliver Stone’s Ixtlan production shingle aboard as partner on “New Age” as a key factor in his decision to jump off the WMA bandwagon.

“I’m not leaving the Morris office in bitterness or indignation, I just felt it was time for a change,” he said.

With Tolkin in tow, CAA could become an even more active player in the independent arena. The agency has recently arranged financing for such specialized titles as David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” James Foley’s “Glengarry Glen Ross,” the Merchant Ivory movies, Vincent Ward’s “Map of the Human Heart” and Emir Kusturica’s “Arizona Dream.”

Tolkin sidestepped speculation that he was moving to CAA to access the agency’s stable of screenwriters. He said he plans to stick to directing movies based on his own work for now.

“Nobody has given me ‘Taxi Driver’ or ‘Chinatown’ yet,” Tolkin said. “When I see a script that makes the hair stand on the back of my neck, than maybe I’ll direct it.”

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