Topher Grace leaves WMA for Endeavor
Ashton Kutcher has formally signed to be represented by CAA. The multi-hyphenate’s move was expected when he left Endeavor, where he’d been repped for a decade.His exit showed the volatility of the actor representation business right now. One day after Endeavor staged a coup by hiring away UTA agents Nick Stevens, Sharon Sheinwold and Lisa Hallerman, the agency got punk’d. Ashton Kutcher, creator of the MTV prank show “Punk’d” and the force behind a number of other reality and scripted skeins, left the agency. Kutcher’s defection closely follows a move by Chris Rock from Endeavor back to ICM, where the comedian and thesp had long been repped and which had continued representing him for his touring biz. And while Kutcher has left Endeavor, Topher Grace, his co-star on “That ’70s Show,” has signed with Endeavor after leaving William Morris. Moves come as Hollywood is struggling to find new movie stars. While a bigscreen splash was predicted for all three following their successes in other forums, all have found hurdles to their transition to film stardom. Kutcher showed a surprising entrepreneurial spirit, making his mark after “That ’70s Show” by forming a company called Katalyst and generating hit TV reality series — a track record that makes him very attractive to any agency. His first success was “Punk’d,” which he exec produced and for which he orchestrated celebrity pranks behind the scenes. Katalyst followed with the CW show “Beauty and the Geek,” the short-lived “The Real Wedding Crashers” and ABC’s scripted comedy “Miss Guided.” He is also exec producer of “Punk’d”-style skein “Pop Fiction,” in which celebs stage embarrassing situations to dupe the paparazzi and the media. Securing screen stardom has been a bit more elusive, and speculation is that Kutcher hopes his next agency can change that. He continues to be managed by Stefanie Simon and lawyered by Robert Offer. Next up for Kutcher on the bigscreen is the romantic comedy “What Happens in Vegas…,” in which Kutcher stars with Cameron Diaz. Fox releases the laffer on May 9. Rock, who parlayed his success as a standup comedian into gigs as host of an acclaimed HBO show and the co-creator and narrator of the biographical sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” went to Endeavor hoping to better his feature fortunes and will now entrust that task once again to ICM. Grace is also trying to find the handle on bigscreen stardom after notable turns in “Traffic” and “In Good Company.” Following his perf as Venom in “Spider-Man 3,” he left longtime reps WMA. After signing with Brillstein Entertainment Partners, he has inked with Endeavor. He’ll next be seen in “Kids in America” — he co-wrote the story for a film that doesn’t yet have a release date from Universal — and he stars in the comedy “Coxblocker” and drama “The Crusaders.”
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