NEW YORK — Longtime William Morris agents Gene Parseghian and Johnnie Planco have joined forces to form Parseghian Planco, a Gotham-based management/production company that bows with an eclectic roster of the talent they’ve agented for so many years.
Their list includes actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Lauren Bacall, Christopher Walken, Joseph Fiennes, Billy Connolly, Rufus Sewell, Scott Glenn, Nigel Hawthorne, Miranda Richardson, Isabella Rossellini, Olympia Dukakis, David Campbell, Hugh Dancy, Olivier Martines and Franka Potente (“Run Lola Run”).
They’ll rep writer-directors including Howard Davies, Paul Schrader, Franco Zeffirelli and Peter Bogdanovich, plus . They also rep director of photography Michael Ballhaus.
While most of these management clients currently are represented by the William Morris office, their new managers said that it has not as yet been decided whether they will continue to have agents and if those agents will be William Morris.
Alliance after exit
The alliance follows the widely publicized exit of the duo when William Morris changed management and eliminated the jobs of 20 agents. That development was a shocker in New York, where both Planco and Parseghian have been familiar fixtures on the social circuit and both are considered classy dealmakers.
That shock was underscored by a New York Times report on their exits that essentially hung a toe tag on Gotham as a film town, a designation resented not only by the town but also by the ousted agents.
“The focus was on us and what had happened to Sam Cohn, but we live here and we see that you can’t get production space because it’s all taken up, everybody is working, and the town is absolutely booming,” Planco said.
“After holding about 13 meetings in three days in New York and L.A., we decided neither of us wanted to move, and we knew we wanted to stay in the representative business. We decided to try something that doesn’t exist here, and that’s form a company with two people who have 50 years of agenting experience and can now move into producing, with a high-profile client list in New York. We thought if there was a gap in New York, it was for that kind of a company, and we decided to try and fill it and maybe change the perception of that article.”
While losing one’s job is never pleasant, Planco said any trauma was short-lived. “When it happened, I’d see people and they’d put their heads down and say, ‘Sorry,’ ” Planco said. “I said, ‘I’ve got a pile of cash and am getting the chance to do something new.’ To be honest, it’s exhilarating. The clients said, ‘Let us know when you’re ready, and we’ll be with you.'”
Parseghian preferred not to dwell on those recent events and was bullish about the future partnered with Planco.
“I am encouraged and optimistic about our exciting new venture, and I very much look forward to expanding my working relationship with Johnnie,” Parseghian said. “It’s quite gratifying for us to have this opportunity to continue representing the extraordinary talent with whom we are moving forward.”
Planco will finish the month in Morris headquarters, and Parseghian Planco should have permanent Gotham office space by early December.