WMA’s Harris ankles for deal at USA Films

Thornton, Sommers to keep exec as manager, remain at agency

After 16 years as an agent, William Morris Agency senior veepee Todd Harris is ankling the percentery to form a yet-to-be-named production and management company that will have a three-year, first-look deal with USA Films.

Joining Harris as management clients — but remaining at William Morris for agency representation —include actor-writer-helmer Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade”); helmer Stephen Sommers (“The Mummy”); scribe Tom Epperson (“The Shipping News”); helmer Michael Clancy (“The Cat in the Hat”); and writer-helmer Tommy O’Haver (“Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss”).

“I’m sorry to see him go,” WMA topper Jim Wiatt said in a prepared statement. “He’s a wonderfully gifted agent and will make an outstanding manager.”

Harris had joined WMA in 1992, when the shop bought out his former home, Triad Artists.

Just last year, he was promoted to head of the motion pictures directors division at WMA.

Harris said the particularly strong relationships were formed between him and USA when he set up the Robert Duvall starrer “The Apostle” there. The pic went on to earn an Acad nom for Duvall.

USA Films chairman Scott Greenstein praised Harris’ ability “to weave together concepts, talent and material in creatively rich and commercially satisfying ways.”

Harris is not the first WMA agent to go the producer-manager route with USA Films: In October, longtime WMA agent Frank Frattarolli ankled the shop to join longtime client Stanley Tucci’s First Cold Press Prods., which is also set up at USA Films.

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