NEW YORK — Longtime agent Marion Rosenberg has switched to the management business and will partner with veteran manager Bill Melamed in Rosenberg Melamed Management.
Rosenberg will bring several of her agency clients, led by director Paul Verhoeven, and Melamed brings a talent list that is topped by “Seinfeld” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Melamed and Rosenberg will start as the only two managers in their business, with a client roster that also includes actor-turned-director LeVar Burton, director Martin Bell (“American Heart”), novelist Allan Folsom (“The Day After Tomorrow”), screenwriters John Gatins (“Varsity Blues”), Nancy Dowd (“Slapshot,” “Coming Home”), Jane-Howard Hammerstein (“The Summer of My German Soldier”) and Tony Hendra, whose WB film “Blonde and Sand” will be directed by Bob Spiers.
Actors, soup to nuts
They also rep actors Jeroen Krabbe, Tony nominee Douglas Sills (“The Scarlet Pimpernel”), Arabella Field (“Godzilla”), George Newbern (“Chicago Hope”), Claire Bloom and Norman Lloyd, the 85-year-old best known for playing the villain in the 1942 Alfred Hitchcock film “Saboteur,” who has just had his series “Seven Days” picked up for the fall season by UPN.
The union came about after several overtures from Melamed to Rosenberg. Though she is trading in her boutique agency to become the latest in a line of agents to switch to management, Rosenberg never envisioned making the switch until recently.
“When Bill made the initial proposal, my first response is that Paul is my linchpin client and he doesn’t need a manager,” said Rosenberg. “Then Paul approached me, wanting me to become more involved in the creative aspects of his life and it suddenly made sense.”
Rosenberg will spend a good portion of her time developing material for her biggest client, who last directed “Starship Troopers.” It takes her back to an extensive pre-agenting background as a producer who has worked on 50 films, including “The Deer Hunter” and “Missouri Breaks.”
Verhoeven confirmed that Rosenberg’s switch better serves his needs.
“I came from a culture where it was normal to do a movie and then take a long time to look for the next film, because filmmaking was more a hobby than an industry in Holland,” said Verhoeven. “In the last three or four years, every time I did a movie, I had no idea of what I’d do next. When I’m shooting, things would come to a stall, disappear or be so deep on ice that it took too much energy to get them going again.
“Operating on my own never gave me enough time and energy to proceed on projects I really like or are a bit difficult and need extra time, so I’d have a good idea, read a book about a subject, then not be able to set it up,” he said.
“When you finish a movie, you’re tired and you start to look for that next project and don’t find it. You don’t panic, but you think, ‘I have to find something.’ I have been in situations where, even if I didn’t like it enough, I’d do it anyhow.”
Verhoeven also wants to turn some of his ideas into TV series. Rosenberg will start right away, since the director is without a next project now that he has exited “Houdini.” With Rosenberg shifting her role, Verhoeven will go without an agent, with longtime attorney Tom Hansen making his deals.
Melamed, whose biggest challenge is setting up Louis-Dreyfus into a film career now that “Seinfeld” has wrapped, said the partnership and its client roster will be grown slowly.
“We’ve both operated boutique shops and I’m pretty sure we’ll keep it that way,” said Melamed, who’ll move into Rosenberg’s offices on Melrose Place.
“A lot of management companies become mini agencies. We just wanted a balance of clients in all fields who can be represented by agencies who have su-perior information-gathering capacities, but can benefit from strategic planning from two like-minded and focused managers.”