Michael Siegel has ankled his post at Brillstein-Grey Management to form a management and production company built around authors. He’ll temporarily call it Michael Siegel & Associates, reprising the name of a company he folded before joining CAA and then Brillstein-Grey.
While reviving that name connotes a step back, Siegel said that his company is designed to take advantage of future opportunities for authors that stem from technological advances in the publishing and film media. The company name will change when he makes a number of strategic alliances in the coming weeks, he said.
Siegel starts with a client list that includes such authors as Elmore Leonard, Stephen Hunter (whose “Point of Impact” is a possible Michael Mann-Brad Pitt team-up in “Shooter”), Rafe Yglesias (“Fearless”), David Foster Wallace and Martin Amis. He also has a burgeoning list of children’s authors that includes William Joyce (“Dinosaur Bob”), Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka (“The Stinky Cheese Man”), Graeme Base (“Sign of the Seahorse”) and the estate of Roald Dahl.
Taking on Web
“With the landscape of intellectual property rights changing so dramatically, this is the right time to create a company dedicated to making the most of all the opportunities, including electronic publishing and the Internet,” Siegel said.
Long considered a major player in the co-agenting biz, Siegel was involved in the recent sale of rights to Philip Gourevitch’s New Yorker article “A Cold Case” to Universal and Tom Hanks and of an Elizabeth Gilberg GQ article to Centropolis and director Tony Bill. He’s recently sold book rights to Stephen Hunter’s “Hot Springs” to Miramax; Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize winner “The Hours” to producer Scott Rudin; T.C. Boyle’s “Budding Prospects” to Columbia, for “Full Monty” director Peter Cattaneo; Elmore Leonard’s “Cuba Libre” to Universal; and Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for a remake at Warner Bros., with Scott Frank scripting and Gary Ross directing. A stage musical through WB is also envisioned.
Siegel said he’s ending his three- year run at Basic-owned B-G Management in amicable fashion, and Basic chairman Brad Grey said Cassie Evishevski will head up the lit component of the B-G management company. “Michael is a friend and has been a wonderful executive, and all of us wish him the best and look forward to working with him in the future,” Grey said.
Siegel began his career with H.N. Swanson, whom Siegel credited for the 1934 innovation of co-agenting screen rights that is still the way most books get sold for films. Siegel sees room for innovation in how authors and media companies co-exist in the coming opportunities from online technologies.
Siegel sees the new media as having great potential impact on his clients and wants his new company to take a leadership role in ensuring that writers have a share and a say in what becomes of those rights in these new media.
“I am creating a company where artists can have ownership, creative control and fun,” he said.