You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Agencies Overseas Keep Local Focus

U.S. talent reps establishing more outposts around the world

As showbiz gets increasingly global, U.S. talent reps are establishing more outposts around the world. But a cross-section of key markets shows that the tenpercenters in each country retain their own business style while they cooperate with the American invasion.


U.S. agencies don’t have offices in France but have signed locals looking for an international career. Michel Hazanavicius and Berenice Bejo are repped by CAA, while WME signed Jean Dujardin, left, (who is represented by his brother and a lawyer on local projects).

Gaumont Intl. topper Cecile Gaget says talent increasingly hires American representatives and works with lawyers on French dealmaking, since the role of local percenters is often limited to negotiating contracts, unlike Hollywood representatives who develop material and help drum up funding. But, like U.S. counterparts, French agents are limited by a law that bans them from producing their content.

France has 60 talent agencies, but only a handful of key players. Bertrand de Labbey owns the two biggest, Artmedia and VMA, with 17 percenters repping 900 clients. Two fast-rising percenteries are UBBA and Adequat.

— Elsa Keslassy


CAA established a beachhead via its joint venture with India’s Kwan. The combo reps up-and-comers like Aditya Roy Kapoor and Chitrangda Singh.

Older-generation stars traditionally employ a functionary known variously as a manager, secretary or a public relations officer, or a family member. Exceptions are Kareena Kapoor, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt, whose negotiations are handled by independent uber agent Reshma Shetty. The Gersh Agency reps Irrfan Khan (“Life of Pi”), with Talent Mantra managing his local work.

Local agencies like Carving Dreams and Bling! Entertainment rep younger talent for commercials bookings, but not film work. Tulsea, India’s only agency for writers, handles A-listers, while Tarsame Mittal Talent Management reps musicians. Helmers operate as lone wolves and usually do not have representation.

— Naman Ramachandran


In November, Li Bingbing signed with UTA to represent her overseas. The move is indicative of how Chinese talent perceives overseas agencies — as
a way to build a profile internationally.

In China, the agency biz can be divided into big U.S. players (such as CAA, which has a Beijing office) and the domestic players, in a sector that’s in its relative infancy.

Many large domestic producers, such as Huayi Bros., have agencies, which function more as managers. Others, including Stellar Megamedia and Beijing Chengtian 18, rep some rising stars of the Chinese cinema.

The market remains locally focused, because talent resents such innovations as paying commissions. The trend for stars is to start at a place like CAA or Huayi, and then have a trusted associate look after their business. That model may work in the short-term, but could reduce a star’s leverage.

— Clifford Coonan

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Steven Spielberg Branko Lustig

    'He Left Me Speechless': Steven Spielberg Remembers Branko Lustig

    Steven Spielberg has offered a touching remembrance of Branko Lustig, the Holocaust survivor who produced “Schindler’s List” with Spielberg and Gerald Molen and died Thursday in Croatia. “I was heartbroken to hear of Branko’s passing and my thoughts are with his family and friends,” Spielberg said. “When we first met to discuss ‘Schindler’s List,’ he [...]

  • Dylan Brosnan and Paris BrosnanGolden Globe

    Pierce Brosnan’s Sons Paris and Dylan Brosnan Named 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors

    Pierce Brosnan’s two youngest sons, Paris and Dylan Brosnan, have been named as the 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Thursday evening. Paris and Dylan are also the sons of journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith. The ambassador(s), a title that typically goes to the son or daughter of a [...]

  • Joaquin Phoenix'Joker' film premiere, Arrivals, 57th

    Film News Roundup: Joaquin Phoenix Honored by Palm Springs Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Joaquin Phoenix is honored for “Joker”; Legion M backs Joe Manganiello’s “Archenemy”; sales have launched on “Lev Yashin: The Dream Goalkeeper”; Warner Bros. shuffles execs and Universal launches a first-of-its-kind animation writing program. HONOR Joaquin Phoenix has been selected as the recipient of the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s chairman’s [...]

  • Danny Huston

    Danny Huston Discusses the Significance of 'Last Photograph'

    In the decades since Danny Huston made his feature directing debut with “Mr. North,” his 1988 film adaptation of the Thornton Wilder novel “Theophilus North,” he has kept busy in front of the cameras as one of film and television’s most versatile and sophisticated character players. In just the past year, small-screen viewers have been [...]

  • Rocketman

    'Rocketman': Chris Dickens Discusses the Inside Story of Editing 'I'm Still Standing'

    Endings are so important and how the viewer leaves the cinema is crucial. For editor Chris Dickens, finding the perfect ending for “Rocketman” was paramount, but it was also a challenge. Elton John’s hit “I’m Still Standing” was going to end the film with the original idea of going to Cannes to recreate the video [...]

  • A general view of the skyline

    United Media Asia Strikes Deal With Indonesian Giant Kompas Gramedia

    Newly-formed content finance, production and distribution company United Media Asia has struck a first look deal, brokered by Hollywood talent agency CAA, with Indonesian media giant Kompas Gramedia. United has also unveiled its first two feature films. The partnership provides UMA with access to Kompas Gramedia’s media network and its 100,000 pieces of intellectual property, [...]

  • Taron Egerton Fashion

    Taron Egerton's Stylist Used Elton John as Inspiration on Press Tour

    Showstopping looks: For Taron Egerton’s “Rocketman” tour, stylist Gareth Scourfield nodded to Elton John’s iconic wardrobe with bold colors, patterns and silhouettes: “We got a bit more eccentric.” May 16 “Elton is the real original showman,” says Scourfield, who met Egerton through another client, Egerton’s “Rocketman” co-star Richard Madden. “Part of Taron as a man [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content