Sitting in a darkened theater watching an early screening of “Eat, Pray, Love,” Kassie Evashevski began sobbing. Sure, the Julia Roberts starrer has its tearjerker moments. But for the UTA lit agent, it marked the culmination of a formative relationship.
“The book’s author (Elizabeth Gilbert) was my very first client,” says Evashevski, who began her agenting career at Writers House after a stint at Random House in the editorial division. “Just seeing it get made — and trust me, it wasn’t easy — and seeing how the filmmakers handled the material, was such an emotional experience. It was far and away the most gratifying moment of the year.”
And that’s not to say there weren’t other worthy contenders for her 2010 highlight reel. In addition to “Eat, Pray, Love,” Evashevski celebrated the success of summer blockbuster “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” based on the third book in client Stephenie Meyer’s literary phenomenon. In fact, the one-time manager at Brillstein-Grey hit three premieres in the summer alone, including July’s bow of “Dinner for Schmucks,” which was penned by screenwriter clients Mike Handelman and David Guion.
“It’s hard work and a lot of reading,” sighs the mother of three. “The days are filled with phone calls, commissions and deals. The nights are for reading and finding new material.”
And as the rep for Stieg Larsson’s estate, Evashevski enjoyed a front-row seat for the frenzy surrounding all things related to the late author’s Millennium trilogy, which kicked off with “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Though the books spawned a wildly successful Swedish-language trio of films and will serve as the basis for the English-language versions, the property was anything but a sure bet when Evashevski came aboard.
“When I got involved, the books had not been published in the U.S. yet,” notes the U of Michigan alum, who shuffles between a Kindle and an iPad. “At that point, the Swedish films had been envisioned for TV.”
Though Evashevski believed in the property, Hollywood was initially unimpressed. “A lot of people turned it down,” she notes dryly, without naming names. “But that’s how it goes sometimes.”