This article was corrected on May 22, 2003.
HOLLYWOOD — If you heard agent Richard Lovett giddily warbling Chaka Khan‘s “I’m Every Woman” at Creative Artists Agency last week, it was with good reason.
The agency’s signing of Julia Roberts, announced May 14, caps a major realignment of the stars in the talent-biz solar system over the last six months.
CAA now represents most of the thirtysomething femme stars working today — a stark contrast from only two years ago, when ICM held the keys to top ladies’ trailers.
The last six best actress Oscar-winners are now under the same roof.
Helen Hunt (“As Good As It Gets,” 1998) and Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love,” 1999) were already clients. Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry,” 2000) returned two weeks ago from the William Morris Agency.
And now, Roberts, who won the actress trophy for “Erin Brockovich” in 2001, joins fellow Oscar winners like Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball,” 2002) and this year’s winner, Nicole Kidman (“The Hours.”)
Still, winning Oscar doesn’t pay the rent, and certainly doesn’t guarantee commission-generating roles. That’s why CAA also worked to land $20 million player Cameron Diaz — who decamped ICM in January.
Roberts and Diaz crown a formidable femme list of established topliners at the agency that also includes Sandra Bullock, Rene Zellweger, Kate Hudson andPenelope Cruz.
Two challenges remain, though: balance and retention.
Representing such a gaggle of top leading ladies means that agency clients are essentially competing against one another, which can lead to complicated internal politics.
Which brings us to retention: Swank has left CAA before, and CAA’s signing of ICM client Michelle Pfeiffer last year proved to be just a brief fling; she returned to ICM’s Ed Limato only eight months later.
ICM’s roster of young femmes also includes Jodie Foster, Jennifer Connolly, Winona Ryder and Kate Beckinsale.