Job description: Co-head of talent and partner at United Talent Agency
Breakthrough: Helping package the Oscar-winning Johnny Depp starrer “Chocolat” and the critically acclaimed “Ghost World.”
In the works: Client Lasse Hallstrom’s next pic “Shipping News.”
It was a Sunday night back in 1988, and Tracey Jacobs was at home watching an episode of the Fox drama “21 Jump Street” when something caught her eye.
“There was this actor who had the qualities of a movie star, and I just said, ‘Who is this guy?” she remembers. The young thesp was Johnny Depp; he’d soon become a client of Jacobs — and a major movie star.
Fifteen years later, Jacobs has assembled a client roster of actors and filmmakers who always seem to be working: Nathan Lane, Elizabeth Hurley, William Petersen, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lasse Hallstrom, Terry Zwigoff.
Jacobs says she’s more interested in providing clients with long-term success than getting them one or two quick big paychecks. That philosophy is evident in the career of Petersen, a veteran feature thesp who’s now established himself as a TV powerhouse on “CSI.”
“My objective is building a career,” she says. “If you do that, the money will follow.”
Universal Pictures topper Stacey Snider says Jacobs has a nose for finding talent — and finding that talent the right projects.
“She has an incredible sense of taste, in whatever she does,” Snider says.
When she’s not setting up meetings or brokering deals, Jacobs says she tries to “stay sane” by spending an “enormous amount of time taking care of animals.”
“It makes me feel somehow humanized and separated from the animals I deal with every day,” she quips.