Aiming to extend its grasp from the legit stages of Broadway and the West End to the soundstages of Hollywood, the William Morris Agency has promoted George Lane to head its East Coast motion picture literary department.
Lane, a senior veepee, serves as top man of worldwide theater at WMA in Gotham — a position in which he’ll continue to serve.
Dave Wirtschafter, worldwide head of motion pictures for WMA, praised Lane as “that rare crossover agent” who possesses “an outstanding eye for the written word,” and “excellent relationships with A-list directors.”
Throughout his career, Lane has represented numerous Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winners, with clients including playwrights Edward Albee, Warren Leight, Kenny Lonergan, and Nicky Silver; helmers Robert Falls, James Lapine, Michael Mayer, Daniel Sullivan and Matthew Bourne; and actors Alec Baldwin and Cherry Jones.
Lane’s elevation comes on the heels of a recent restructuring of WMA’s West Coast talent and literary operations and amid sweeping changes at WMA’s Gotham offices in the past 9 months.
In New York, the motion picture staff office that Lane will oversee is a markedly different one from just a year ago: The arrival of new WMA topper Jim Wiatt from ICM was a harbinger of tumult in personnel — changes that eventually materialized in the departure of many longtime Gotham motion picture agents. Among those who ankled last fall included Johnnie Planco and Gene Parseghian, (both former heads of WMA’s New York motion picture department themselves) and agent Frank Frattaroli. All three left the shop to work as managers.
New York-based agent Craig Gering also ankled, leaving for CAA’s West Coast offices, and veteran WMA lit agent Carol Yumkas departed as well.
On the West Coast, equally substantial structural changes have occurred in recent weeks. In a move precipitated in part by the ankling of then-head of WMA’s director department Todd Harris, (who left to form his own management company on April 19) the tenpercentery announced the promotion of senior veepees Rob Carlson and John Fogelman. Carlson was upped to head a combined motion picture literary and directors department; Fogelman was tapped to head motion picture talent, replacing Hylda Quelly, who had become head of WMA’s International and Independent talent efforts.