Exec will 'break in and develop new actors'
Benderspink has lured away Creative Artists Agency motion picture talent agent Courtney Kivowitz to head a newly created talent management division.Benderspink principal Chris Bender said Kivowitz’s mandate will be to break in and develop new actors and package projects around such talent as a complement to already-existing lit and production divisions. At CAA for the past eight years, Kivowitz worked most notably with thesps Sissy Spacek and Ellen Burstyn, putting those two in pics “In the Bedroom” and “Requiem for a Dream,” respectively — gigs that earned each a best actress Oscar nomination. “I believe that actors want to do (movies) that are hard and challenging,” said Kivowitz, “and that my job is to help them realize their full potential.” In addition to principals Chris Bender and J.C. Spink, Benderspink comprises managers Charlie Gogolak and Jill McElroy and production executive Jake Weiner. The trio is responsible for developing client material for the spec market, signing new writers, as well as overseeing Benderspink’s production slate. CAA partner Rick Nicita praised Kivowitz as an agent with “incredible energy and taste, in both artists and projects.” Benderspink had defined its niche in lit management over the past four years representing breaking, young writers like Jeff Reddick (“Final Destination”); J. Mackeye Gruber and Eric Bress (“Final Destination II”); Jesse Wigutow (“A Few Good Years”) Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Cats and Dogs,” “Bad Santa”) and Mike Bender (“Not Another Teen Movie”). Company is also producing movies with writers such as Adam Herz (“American Pie”). “We would like to do with talent what we’ve been able to do with lit –that is, to discover the next generation of talent and develop their careers to create groundbreaking movies,” said Bender. “But secondly, we want to create a working relationship between our literary and talent division — something that we’ve been looking to do for two years. To date, we just hadn’t found the right person. Now we have.” Kivowitz also has worked closely with CAA clients that include Colin Hanks (“Orange County”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“Secretary”), Monica Potter (“Along Came a Spider”), Griffin Dunne (“Cheaters”), Rita Wilson (“Auto Focus”), Peter Sarsgaard (“Boys Don’t Cry”), Isaac Mizrahi (“Hollywood Ending”) and Brian Van Holt (“Confidence”). It remains unclear who will ultimately elect to join her at Benderspink.