Steve White, a partner for 17 years in the boutique lit agency Warden, White & Associates, is transitioning to producer-manager.
White will manage a small number of screenwriters he repped as an agent, and those clients will remain with longtime partner David Warden. They include Bill Marsilii (“Deja Vu”), Michelle Joyner (“Eucalyptus”) and Stephen Peters (“Wild Things”).
White made the switch mainly so he could concentrate on producing.
Using his own coin, he has optioned “Comfort,” a short story penned by Mary Gaitskill, a short story of whom was adapted into the Steven Shainberg-directed “Secretary.”
White also will be a producer on “Definitely Wild,” a Mandalay feature that marks a reteaming of “Wild Things” director John McNaughton and scribe Peters.
Published in 1988 in the short story collection “Because They Wanted To,” “Comfort” is the story of a young musician who lives in San Francisco and finds some emotional connection when he returns to Iowa to visit his injured mother. Stephen Stewart, a playwright and graduate of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, has written a script that White is showing to directors.
During their lit partnership, Warden and White were on the ground floor of films like “Batman,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Enemy of the State” and “Deja Vu.” On the latter, White (repping Marsilii) worked with CAA’s Brian Siberell (who repped Ted Rossio) on a spec deal worth $3 million against $5 million.
White said Warden will continue to run the agency and the name will remain intact, but White decided he wanted to stay with projects he helped through the early development stage.
“If you develop a screenplay from the outset and take it to production, it requires a great deal of time and tenacity and complete focus,” White said. “I wanted to be able to focus on a couple of projects, and a select group of writers, to be more productive.”
White will continue to option properties with his own coin, hoping to assemble a package of script and director before looking for production financing.