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Ford ponders agency home

UTA courting Costner

NEW YORK — After spending the weekend getting pitched by five major agencies and AMG, Harrison Ford and his longtime agent Patricia McQueeney will choose one shortly, his first agency relationship in 15 years.

When Robin Williams left CAA to join AMG and other stars debated the necessity of an agency, the ten-percenters argued they provide invaluable access to material and filmmakers. It’s possible they were telling the truth. Aside from Ford, there have been rumors that Kevin Costner will land at UTA, where his one-time agent J.J. Harris works. The move would be his first agency alliance since exiting CAA several years ago. Though the Costner camp has denied he’s back with an agent and has his deals handled by his attorney, it’s an open secret that his submissions are being sent to Harris.

Better access

In the case of Ford, who has managed to thrive since exiting the Gersh Agency 15 years ago, the move is solely driven to generate better access to material and young filmmakers. McQueeney will maintain her status as Ford’s primary agent, continuing a 30-year relationship as manager and agent that began when Ford was better known in Hollywood for his work as a carpenter than as an actor. Ford and McQueeney spent the weekend being pitched by Endeavor, UTA, CAA, William Morris, ICM and the management company Artists Management Group. McQueeney said it was a response to a changing marketplace.

It’s likely that the agency with the best stable of writers and directors will land Ford.

“In the world of moviemaking as we know it today, studio films are only one part of the equation,” McQueeney said. “There is also another segment of the industry emerging and that is new writers/directors that are bringing a fresh vision and an exciting voice to their own material. While studio pictures have been and will always be very important to us, I want to take advantage of these opportunities for Harrison, and I feel the need for some help — some more arms and legs, if you will — to cover that all-important and new avenue of film production.”

Indirect dealings

The winning agency won’t deal directly with Ford, but rather with McQueeney on material matters. Despite that lack of direct access and Ford’s unwillingness to be packaged, the agencies and AMG jumped at the opportunity to commission one of the most consistent hitmaking leading men of the past two decades.

Ford just wrapped the Robert Zemeckis-directed thriller “What Lies Beneath,” and will likely next play the role of Jack Ryan a third time, in an adaptation of the Tom Clancy bestseller “The Sum of All Fears.” That film, adapted by Akiva Goldsman, will be directed by Philip Noyce and produced by Mace Neufeld. Ford’s commitment is pending a script polish by Paul Attanasio due early next month. Ford also wants to return a fourth time as Indiana Jones, though the busy dance cards of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg make that unlikely in the short term.

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