Krantz makes ‘Big’ career move

Former TV agent bows on bigscreen

While it’s not uncommon for Hollywood players to jump between acting, writing, producing and directing, it’s very rare for an agent to become a director.

Fifteen-year CAA vet Tony Krantz is solidifying this unusual leap from suit to creative with his third helming effort, “The Big Bang,” a surreal, modern noir thriller starring Antonio Banderas that hits New York and Los Angeles theaters May 13.

“After college, I was looking for a career that had a kind of structure to it,” he explains. “CAA had a training program, so I became an agent, then a producer and finally, three and a half years ago, I came back around to becoming the director I always wanted to be.”

Krantz’s path is a bit less surprising when you look at the quality of projects he packaged after rising from CAA’s mailroom to run its primetime TV department: They include “Twin Peaks,” “The West Wing” and “ER,” plus such features as “Wild at Heart” and “The Doors.” His genetics, as son of the late producer and comedy writer Steve Krantz and bestselling author Judith Krantz, who belatedly switched from magazine writing to novels, probably didn’t hurt the transition.

Krantz sees a link among his choices in projects that he traces back to his days promoting such shows as a Grateful Dead/Miles Davis Quartet double bill at Berkeley. “It was brilliant music that would inspire and uplift the audience, with a spiritual element to it,” he says. “That feeling is what I’ve wanted to find in everything I’ve done.”

Krantz exec produced “Sports Night,” “Felicity” and “24” (which earned him a PGA award) as a founding partner of Imagine Television, and produced former client David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.” He went on to found the production outfit Flame Ventures and helm two features for Warner Bros.’ Raw Feed video label: the sci-fi thriller “Sublime” and the black comedy/horror film selected to open the 2008 SXSW Film Festival, “Otis,” both in collaboration with “Bang” writer Erik Jendresen.

Krantz’s next producer-director efforts include “Honey Vicarro,” which he’s helping writer Daniel Knauf (“Carnivale”) transform from a Fox mockumentary TV pilot into a serious 1960s-era conspiracy thriller with a “Boogie Nights”-meets-“Network” feel. He hopes to begin shooting the feature in New Orleans by the end of this year, but that depends on financing and landing the right lead, among other factors.

With the Anchor Bay-distributed “Bang” marking his first theatrical effort, Krantz seems to have completed the journey from project enabler to film director.

“If you’ve been an agent or producer, there’s a preconception that you’re not an artist, or as much of an artist as somebody who may have gone to film school, started as a writer or in theater, because there’re been so few examples where people have made that transition,” he says. “But I take Bill Graham, my first client and one of my early heroes, as an example. He was an artist-businessman, and I think you can be both.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rob Schneider'The Week Of' film premiere,

    Film News Roundup: Rob Schneider Wins SAG-AFTRA National Board Seat

    In today’s film news roundup, Rob Schneider wins a SAG-AFTRA board seat; “Badland,” “Sorry We Missed You” and “Extracurricular” find homes; and “The Shawshank Redemption” gets a re-release.  SAG-AFTRA Rob Schneider has won a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Schneider won a four-year term [...]

  • This photo shows actor David Oyelowo

    David Oyelowo Joins George Clooney in 'Good Morning, Midnight' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Oyelowo is in final negotiations to join George Clooney in Netflix’s untitled adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” sources tell Variety. Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler are also on board, with Clooney set to helm the pic — his first feature film directing gig since 2017’s “Suburbicon.” “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark [...]

  • Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the

    Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the Window'

    Disney is shaking up its release calendar, delaying its live action “Cruella” until Memorial Day 2021 and pushing Fox 2000 drama “The Woman in the Window” to 2020. “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone, is based on the classic “101 Dalmatians” villain Cruella de Vil. The revisit to Disney’s animated classic was originally set to hit theaters [...]

  • Spider-Man Could Leave the Marvel Cinematic

    Spider-Man Could Leave MCU if Disney, Sony Can't Reach Financing Deal

    Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have hit an impasse on new financing terms for upcoming Spider-Man movies, sources have told Variety. If a deal cannot be reached, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will not produce future Spider-Man films, effectively removing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reps for Disney, Marvel and Sony [...]

  • Australia Makes Progress on Gender Equality

    Australia Makes Progress on Gender Equality in Film and TV

    Screen Australia, Australia’s federal film and TV funding body, has made sufficient progress in furthering gender equality that it has set more ambitious targets. The organization has exceeded its long-term Gender Matters key performance indicator, with 56% of projects receiving production funding having at least half of the key creative roles occupied by women, based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content