Thesp ankles UTA after 15 years

Jim Carrey has left UTA, ending one of the longest-running relationships between a star and agent.

Carrey had been represented for 15 years by Nick Stevens, who with managers Jimmy Miller and Eric Gold guided the comic from an ensemble performer on “In Living Color” to bankable comic star and the first to earn $20 million for a film.

Carrey, who discharged the agency Wednesday afternoon, remains with managers Gold and Miller. He hasn’t yet signed with a new agency.

Speculation is he might go to CAA. Miller-managed director Jay Roach just exited ICM for CAA, and Miller-managed star Will Ferrell moved from UTA to CAA when that agency brought over his primary dealmakers, Jason Heyman and Martin Lesak.

Reasons for Carrey’s exit were unclear. Roach is believed to have left ICM partly because of Fox’s decision to unplug “Used Guys” over a $6 million discrepancy. Fox wanted a budget of $106 million, while Roach requested $112 million. Carrey had been ready to star in that film with Ben Stiller. Nobody got paid after a prolonged development process.

Shortly after that, Paramount put the brakes on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” the Tim Burton-directed tentpole that Carrey was set to do next. While Paramount was concerned about that film’s budget, the studio called the latter move a postponement, one that occurred because Carrey came up with a slew of ideas that changed the movie and necessitated a rewrite.

After “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” put him on the map, Carrey’s $300,000 salary for that film jumped to $450,000 for “The Mask,” and then catapulted to $7 million for “Dumb & Dumber.”

He got the job as the Joker in “Batman Forever” and then made the quantum leap to $20 million for “The Cable Guy.” His paydays on hits like “Liar, Liar,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Bruce Almighty,” thanks to backend participation, were rumored to be as high as $80 million each.

Carrey was a catalyst for the growth of UTA’s comedy department, with agency clients populating films like “The Cable Guy” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Stevens rose from agent to partner and board member during that 15-year ride.

Carrey had just agreed to voice the title character in a Fox Animation adaptation of “Horton Hears a Who,” and he’s reteaming with Cameron Diaz in “A Little Game,” the Gabriele Muccino-directed romantic comedy for Focus Features. Like his upcoming drama, the Joel Schumacher-directed “Number 23,” Carrey is believed to have reduced his upfront salary and made a gross-heavy deal, as he has on non-tentpole comedies.

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