Coast to Coast agent Meredith Fine had reason to pop the Champagne cork after Oscar nominations were unveiled this year. One of her young clients, Abigail Breslin, nabbed a nom for “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Actually, Breslin was her second underage client to score an Oscar nomination. Her first was Haley Joel Osment.
The “Sixth Sense” star was Fine’s first big client. “I knew there was something really special about him, and time has shown that to be true.”
Timing is everything for youth agents, always on the lookout for age-appropriate material, since kids can play only one or two years younger or older than the part calls for.
“When I first started in the youth world, it was very competitive, so I had to focus on kids in wheelchairs who could dribble a basketball, or whole soccer teams” — she created a successful niche for unusual kids with unusual talents.
Fine’s strength was in finding commercial kids, she says, “and I realized that I had to bring in a strong theatrical person to work with me. And that’s when things started to change.”
Fine credits her partners — first Brooke Bundy, then David Eisenberg and Loch Powell — with finding East Coast and theatrical talent. She still has working relationships with all three (who eventually left to become managers), and now shares offices with Dana Edrick-Fletcher.
Together, they rep Haley and sister Emily Osment (a regular on Disney Channel megahit “Hannah Montana”), Abigail and brother Spencer Breslin and busy Michael Angarano (“Sky High”), whom she shares with ICM.
“We don’t want it to be too big,” Fine says. “I only rep as many as I can rep effectively.”
Recent breakthrough: “I’ve just begun my 20th year, hoping for another 20.”
Role model: It’s more about inspiration to Fine. “I’m inspired in this business by loyalty.”
What’s next: “I’d love to see my clients nominated for more Oscars. I’ve booked two clients in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lovely Bones.’ It was a very emotional booking for me. It’s one of my favorite books.”