×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mitchell Gossett

Director of youth at Cunningham eyes multitalents

Multitalents make all the difference, says agent Mitchell Gossett, director of the youth division at Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty, who helps transform pint-sized actors, singers and models, among others, into A-list stars.

When interest exploded for client Jesse McCartney (his single “Beautiful Soul” hit while he was starring in WB series “Summerland”), Gossett smelled a trend. Now, for Gossett and his staff (most of whom have master’s degrees in acting), the strategy is to find youth with talent in one area and then develop their skills in another category.

“We negotiated Miley Cyrus to be the first artist to have deals with four areas at the Disney Co.: TV, film, consumer products and recording,” he says.

Studios and networks have come to depend on both Gossett’s pool of reliable child stars (his clients have carried everything from “Veronica Mars” to “Hannah Montana”) and his ability to detect raw talent in untested young performers.

His discovery of inexperienced AnnaSophia Robb supplied the innocence to Walden’s “Because of Winn Dixie.” Gossett was in Denver on one of his scouting treks when he saw Robb audition. “There was one beat while she was reading and she closed her eyes. I saw that she had it: the ability to disappear in a role,” he says.

Gossett’s agenting method draws from his previous careers as actor, director and talent manager. Thus, his clients get a hands-on rep who speaks their language, understands their struggle and can offer credible advice on how to improve their work.

No matter what his clients’ success, Gossett believes part of his role is to show them their value beyond commerce. Sure, he’s excited to have arranged Cyrus’ sold-out 50-city concert tour, but he confides that he’s equally proud “that she is donating part of every ticket sold to charity.”

Recent breakthrough: Counts Miley Cyrus and AnnaSophia Robb among his clients.

Role model: “My father put himself second to the family, always. I strive to be as wise as him.”

What’s next: “I discovered a young actress named Demi Lovato in Texas, and she just booked the lead in Disney’s ‘Rock Camp,’ which we think can be the next ‘High School Musical’ franchise.”

More Voices

  • FX Confronts Streaming Thanks to Disney

    Kicking and Screaming, FX Is Forced to Confront Future in the Stream (Column)

    During his network’s presentation at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, FX chief John Landgraf made waves — and headlines — by mounting perhaps his most direct criticism yet of Netflix. Landgraf, whose briefings to the press tend to rely heavily on data about the volume of shows with which FX’s competitors flood the [...]

  • Longtime TV Editor Recalls Working for

    How a Bad Director Can Spoil the Show (Guest Column)

    I have been blessed with editing some of TV’s greatest shows, working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. “The Wonder Years,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Pushing Daisies” and, most recently, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I have earned an Emmy, ACE Eddie Awards, and many nominations. But whatever kudos I’ve received, over my [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with disabilities in popular films in 2017. A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content