Rian Johnson’s Former Agent Sues CAA Over ‘Star Wars’ Commissions

Rian Johnson
Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock

Rian Johnson’s former agent filed suit against Creative Artists Agency on Monday, claiming the agency worked behind his back on a “Star Wars” deal while Johnson was still his client.

Brian Dreyfuss, who represented Johnson for 12 years, sued his former client in 2016. That suit alleged that Johnson owed Dreyfuss a commission on the “Star Wars” deal, which was announced shortly after Johnson dropped Dreyfuss in 2014. The suit has been on hold pending a California Labor Commissioner case, in which Johnson accuses Dreyfuss of not being a licensed agent, thereby voiding their deal.

In the new lawsuit, Dreyfuss alleges that new information has come to light — in interviews and books about “Star Wars” and in the Labor Commissioner case — showing that Creative Artists Agency worked secretly with Lucasfilm on Johnson’s “Star Wars” deal as early as June 2012. The suit alleges that CAA agent John Garvey concealed meetings and communications about the project from Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss’ agency, Featured Artists Agency, was jointly representing Johnson at the time with CAA.

“Plaintiff is informed, believes, and thereon alleges that this failure to disclose Johnson’s actual work for Lucasfilm was intended to deprive FAA of its rightfully owed commissions for under the agreement between FAA and Johnson,” the suit states.

In late 2012, Dreyfuss presented various potential projects to Garvey, who shot them down without explaining that Johnson was already committed to write and direct “The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment of “Star Wars,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit also alleges that CAA had an interest in obtaining packaging fees on the “Star Wars” deal, which resulted in a conflict of interest. The suit accuses CAA of seeking to eliminate Dreyfuss because he had “an independent mindset focused solely on the interests of Johnson.”

“Unlike CAA, FAA did not represent (Kathleen) Kennedy or anyone else at Lucasfilm and could represent Johnson to the full extent possible without concern over any impact on its other clients,” the suit states.

The suit accuses CAA of fraud and interference with a contractual relationship.