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March 16 2005

Gellar leaves William Morris Agency. "Gellar was upset after William Morris president Dave Wirtschafter dished and dissed his clients - and her - in the highbrow weekly, THE NEW YORKER."

Sheesh, he must have really put his foot in it!

Anybody know what the article said for SMG to take such rapid and serious action?
In the current issue of the New Yorker, William Morris Agency prexy David Wirtschafter described Sarah Michelle Gellar as "nothing at all" before her performance in horror pic "The Grudge." (that comes from Variety)

[ edited by twiggy on 2005-03-16 15:46 ]
He was commenting about the movie "The Grudge" and how well it did at the box office saying that it took SMG, who was "nothing at all" and made her a star.
It's a good thing Sarah didn't play one of the most (if not the most) iconic TV character(s) of the last 20 years. Cause if she had, Mr Wirtschafter would look a bit silly for describing her as "nothing at all".
And this guy was her Agent I don't blame her for firing him. This guy is suppose to make her sound like to best thing since sliced bread not make it sound like one movie made her who she is. He would have been better off saying most people might not be aware of how good an actress she was but we knew ever since she was on All My Children.
Where's that bell? I'm looking.
Admittedly this opinion could be down to my adoration of the girl, not to mention the character she made so famous, but she was far more than "nothing at all" for a very long time before The Grudge.

Everyone i know is well aware who Sarah Michelle Gellar is. My friends, both my parents, pretty much my entire family (including my gran who's television habits generally extend to Coronation Street and Songs of Praise) all recognise her, even if only as the girl from Buffy in some cases.

I don't blame Sarah for dumping this guy and his agency at all. It's bad enough when some random journalist publically insults you, but your own agent??? Not good!
Holy crap - "nothing at all"? That from the pres of her agency of all people? What a f#%kwit! Even if she was nothing at all (and she's not - before anybody assumes that's what I mean), it is his job to maintain the illusion that she is someone!

Truly, what a f#%kwit!
"Nothing at all" as opposed to Dave Wirtshisname, who is obviously somebody.
With an agent like THAT who needs enemies?? SMG was a well know actress way before The Grudge. When I tell people I liked The Grudge (I usually HATE horror movies) people who know me allways says some think like "Well, that is just because that Sara..what's her name Byffy is in it".
Ok, well, maybe a bad example..but it shows that the FIRST thing that come to SOME peoples minds is Sarah, not the actual movie.
Makes sense...??
Apparently, she's not the only one he dissed. You know, this guy doesn't seem to be the brightest bulb in the lamp. You don't diss a hot product that makes your agency money.

With this news, all this guys dirty laundry (about dissing stars/producers etc.) is coming out.
Hmmm. The New Yorker is by far my favorite magazine, but somehow I missed that article. If it's in the one this week, I haven't gotten it yet. Otherwise, I'll have to look through my recent back issues... I'm curious to read it now. And yeah – probably not a good strategy, from a self-interest standpoint, to belittle one of your stars if you're head of a talent agency...
Heh. SMG was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly what, 2? 3? 5? times? Not to mention TV Guide and a whole raft of top shelf fashion mags. I'm sure plenty of other actresses would love to be "nothing at all" just like her.
I'll have to search through my lastest copy of The New Yorker.
It is such a stupid comment for her representation to make in the first place.
But also, I thought she got 'The Grudge' because she was already known Internationally through BtVS.
Yes, and her Emmy award proves what a nothing she was. Because, you know, winning an Emmy when you're 16, playing 10 years older, does nothing for your career. Not to mention she's done nothing of note since. Like being the star of a critically acclaimed show for seven years, staring in a movie where she kissed Selma Blair, being considered as one of the most beautiful/sexy actresses by People, FHM, and Stuff, hosting Saturday Night live... man, she really was nothing before the Grudge!

Does this guy even know who she is? I can't believe the president of her agency said that!

What a dink!
Gosh, I get the New Yorker but I didn't see that. Does anyone know specifically which issue it was in?
Almost feel sorry for the poor man, must be awfully embarassing to prove your ignorance of everything except the latest box office numbers in public like that, be interesting to see if he survives the circling piranhas.

Sad to say I suspect his attitude is quite common among studio executives, only your latest (film) box office counts, other things are dismissed as irrelevant.
Many people have said part of the success of The Grudge was all the promoting and touring SMG did. So if she was "nothing" how did that work...?

The most charitable intrepretation was that he was taken out of context and he meant 'Movie career wise' she was unestablished, but then Scooby Doo, Cruel Intentions, IKWYDLS did fairly well.

I can understand a green, innocent, newcomer to the business may make thoughless comments to a journalist without thinking of the consequences. But from the head of a top agents?

He could at least have said "I'm proud of the way we helped SMG capatialise on her TV success" or something.
In a vague attempt at fair and balanced reporting (BBC wise that is, not Fox), I offer the following from a Variety article (where the New York Post got the info from):

"As an agency, we are deeply sorry if any remarks in the New Yorker story have caused any hurt feelings or ill will," said a WMA spokesperson. "It was never our intention to hurt anyone."

Insiders acknowledge there are a few things the voluble Wirtschafter might wish he hadn't said, including the Gellar remark (which, as Friend tells it, the agent made back in October, at home after a long day that included Hylda Queally ankling WMA for CAA).

I'm growing so tired of the media taking pop shots at SMG.
I don't think in this case the media are to blame. New Yorker simply quoted Dave Wirtschafter, and there has been no denial from the William Morris Agency that he did, in fact, say this. It was just a silly off-the-cuff remark. SMG will sign to another agency and I would imagine it will all be forgotten about soon enough.
Yeah I checked the net, and the guy apparently has a bit of a rep in the business. But yours is the only place where I read that 'but he was at home and tired' remark, Simon. Which frankly, to me, sounds a lot like an attempt at damage control.

And sorry, but he still said it publicly as Tad Friend is a New Yorker reporter. I smell an agent too big for his britches who forgets that they're all his clients and that it's his duty to make them look as great in public as he possibly can. Not say that they're nothing at all.

Dear god man how did you get it out of your throat?? I assume he's the type of guy for whom only movie actors 'count', and then only movie actors like Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. (Which would only include what, the top 2% of all actors??) Sarah is world famous and a practically household name.
What ever is said and done, "ankling" is still a damn silly word.
I think even people who never watched Buffy, Scooby, Cruel Intentions etc, know who she is. I was at a family gathering and talking about the show and my sister-in-law said, "that's the show SMG stars in isn't it?". She knew who Sarah was but doesn't watch BtVS. And I have a friend who whenever I bring up Buffy remarks that "SMG is the star, right?" So people definitely know who she is whether they are a fan or not.

I'd love to see the article that this was in because it sounds like he made comments like this about a bunch of actors. I'm amazed he still has his job frankly because I can't see anyone up and coming wanting this guy to represent them!
Seventeen, Cosmo, YM, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and hairstyle mags, SMG's been on covers for them and SO MUCH MORE. She's on the cover of a new Buffy book every coupla months, Buffy magazine, she was on AMC, Scream 2, IKWYDLS, both the Scooby movies, Cruel Intentions, and still so much more (I'm not even going to mention Buffy the show because, hello, obvious much?)

And yet she's NOTHING?

Someone needs to re-read a dictionary.
What exactly was the article about? Did her agent actually make these statements fully aware that they were going to be published or did someone hear him saying these sort of things? If it's the latter, he's wrong, and if it's the former he's stupid and wrong.

SMG has carved out quite a successful career for herself, considering she has been in the public eye for the past decade or so, whereas a lot of young actresses are lucky to stay well known for even a couple of years. She may not be starring in a lot of big name films all the time, but she has worked both on TV and film steadily and contributed a lot of worthwhile performances. I'll agree in saying she hasn't reached the height of her potential yet, but she is quite well known and shouldn't be dismissed so ignorantly.

I wonder if her earnings are "nothing"?
Your agent should be your champion. This guy's comments show extremely poor judgment and an utter lack of professionalism, at the very least.

Good on her for moving on.
acp, et. al., it is the "Letter from California" in the edition of the New Yorker that was delivered to my house today (March 21 edition.)

The pertinent text comes near the end of a drainingly long and uninteresting article. Here's the full paragraph:

"The other headline tonight is that the tracking numbers for 'The Grudge' are amazing," he said. "It looks like it'll do twenty-five million"--in fact, Columbia's remake of a Japanese horror film earned forty million dollars that weekend--"and that takes our client Sarah Michelle Gellar, who now is nothing at all, and it makes her a star, potentially. Suddenly, the Sarah Michelle Gellar space is meaningful, and what's interesting about that is--"

"Dave, his wife said, not unkindly, "Dave, please. It's time to stop working."

Well, he can stop working on building the nothing career of that nobody Sarah Michelle Gellar. What an utter cretin.
What he should have said was a by the numbers cliche like the Grudge is Nothing compared to what she should/could be doing. I Like SMG and Raimi, and I'm glad for them that it made loads of money, but howabout asking for something that could showcase more of his (now former) client's talents? Maybe he should find himself a job he'd be more suited for, like a WWWF spokesperson.
'but he was at home and tired' remark, Simon. Which frankly, to me, sounds a lot like an attempt at damage control.

"In other breaking news, SNT has explained that he had spent several hours *in a row* online and was suffering from "quite a bit of eye strain," and had possibly had a small sherry into the bargain, when he made certain comments about Whedonesque members EdDantes, ZachsMind, and zz9. When questioned about the substance of his comments, SNT referred this reporter to "the Powers That Be." (Said PTBs declined to be interviewed for this article).

Reactions from the Whedonesque members were more forthcoming. EdDantes stated that "if [SNT] can't even get his facts about dutch cheeses right - I mean, it's *Swiss* cheese that has the holes, for Pete's sake!, then I really can't give too much credence to the rest of his nonsense."
zz9, who refused to give any identifying details, "because *she* will find out," said that the allegations had been shown to be false on numerous occasions in the past, and would be again. ZachsMind merely smiled edgily before embarking on a detailed and transcendent monologue that this reporter was unfortunately too slow to take down."

With apologies to every Whedonesque member who took the time to read that.

ChrisinVirgina: thanks for posting the context. The funniest part to me is that Wirtschafter spoke of The Grudge's success (this film "takes" SMG and "makes her a star") as an entirely independent entity from SMG - as if it wasn't *SMG* that relentlessly plugged the thing and, presumably, drew many fans into the theaters. And what on earth does "the Sarah Michelle Gellar space" even mean? Is that English? Is Wirtschafter actually human?
Well well, SNT. I must say I had always suspected it.
On a more positive note, it is interesting to see how many of us read the New Yorker. I gave it up after Tina took over. Should I go back to it? As for the movie making SMG a star, I assume he is taking credit for getting her in the movie in the first place.
It sounds like is wife was trying to shut him up before he spouted even more self-destructive nonsense.
Four Entertainment Weekly Covers, two Rolling Stone covers, an Emmy, at least four or five $100 Million movies, a large cult following, and her (ex)manager thinks she was a nobody until recently? The Grudge didn't make SMG a star, The Grudge was so successful because SMG carried it (being one of the only horror movies released around Halloween helped, of course).
SNT, excellent point about SMG's relentless promotion of "The Grudge" and how that certainly contributed to its success.

Lioness, a confession: I do *not* read the New Yorker...I find it prolix, tedious, tendentious, and a word, unreadable.

My brilliant wife likes it less than I do. Her father sent us a gift subscription.
As for the movie making SMG a star, I assume he is taking credit for getting her in the movie in the first place.

Ah, but he didn't even do that: SMG only signed with WMA in June 2004, after returning from filming in Japan.
The full context, and prefixing 'now' to 'nothing at all' slightly raises his comments above howlingly awful. As in, at this moment, whatever has transpired before in her career, she is nothing. To be honest, however harsh, stupid, and wrong that such a talented woman with her accomplishments could be described this way, his assessment was accurate.

SMG is right to fire their asses, not because he made the comment, but because it was true.

[ edited by nemo on 2005-03-16 21:49 ]
nemo, I don't get your comment. It was true that SMG "now is nothing at all"? I can't see how that "assessment" was even remotely accurate, even allowing for my personal bias, for the reasons given by everyone above. "Not big-league," perhaps. "Not A-list," certainly. But "nothing at all"?

And even assuming for a second that it was true (which it wasn't), why would that be a good reason for SMG to fire him? Because it suddenly exposed her prior "nothingness" to the world? With respect, that doesn't make any kind of sense to me.

(Added): I love the New Yorker. I didn't read it much during TB's reign, but I think David Remnick has really got a great mix of high and low culture, politics, and general gossip going on. And the cartoons are fab too.
Seventeen, Cosmo, YM, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and hairstyle mags, SMG's been on covers for them and SO MUCH MORE.

Hate to say it, but so has Jessica Simpson. Sometimes fans have to be a little better at arguing points... :-)

Still, stupid thing for an agent to say. Could have said that her feature films before Grudge were crappy and the movie has given her serious box office cred. Scooby Doo was fun, but come on!
And what on earth does "the Sarah Michelle Gellar space" even mean? Is that English? Is Wirtschafter actually human?

I think it's industry-speak for "now we can really make some serious money off of SMG," because she took a piddling salary for The Grudge which meant an even more piddling cut for her agency. I'm not sure but didn't she switch agencies after the Scooby-Do movies? She must've earned at least $2 million for each of those SD flicks, but that doesn't mean anything to WMA if they weren't her agents at the time. Well, WMA is a huge powerhouse agency which has been around longer than dirt, so I'm sure they'll continue to make lots of filthy lucre off other actors. That agents talk about their clients as if they were race horses, well, that's hardly surprising, but it is seriously dumb to do it in front of a reporter.

As for Mr. Wirtschafter's creds in the human race...he's a Hollywood agent! Puhleeze.
It astonishes me that anyone representing *any* talent would have the temerity to say such an insulting thing - tired or not - about someone who they make money from.

By making such a claim it gives the appearance that the agency has no real confidence in her talent which could undermine contract negotiations and future earnings potential for her.

Quite frankly, SMG would be within her rights to demand a *real* apology not just from the agency, but specifically from the bozo who made that extraordinarily insulting statement.
I would re-subscribe to the New Yorker. I think it is without question the best magazine of its type. I think it is far superior to Harper's and Atlantic, and those are both pretty good magazines.

I expect Wirtschafter wasn't trying to make any point about SMG's value as a person, or her talent as an actor. I think it was just a claim about money. The success of the Grudge makes it more likely that studios would cast her as the lead actor in a big budget movie, and more likely that she could command a huge salary. I expect that he's right. Obviously, the way he put it was ill-considered and offensive. Frankly, I expect that agents and studio people say things like this, and much worse, hundreds of times every day, but they just aren't dumb enough to do so on the record.

I'm going to try to work "ankled" into my everyday conversations to see how people react. (I don't live in Hollywood.)
I didn't think I still had any SMG loyalty left but I guess I do because this guy's comment outraged me.
The Grudge was just another in a long string of successes that SMG has had.
Nothing my tuckus!

I imagine that soon this guy will find himself "nothing at all"
My (limited) sense of the culture of LA's movie executives/agents is that they aren't very nice, and they tend to overstate their accomplishments. Of course, SMG is not, was not, and will never be 'nothing.' In the context of her movie career, her bankability, and buzz was, in the eyes of the frustratingly insular and sexist movie industry, nil. That's what (I think) he was speaking to in his comments.

That this could ever be the case, given her accomplishments in portraying and defining an iconic televsion character for seven years, and starring in several successful movies, reflects extremely poorly on her representation.

Apparently (thank you, bovik, you posted while I was writing my comment ...), WMA wasn't the principle architect of that state of affairs. So that might also have been part of the context, that Dave Whathizname was bragging, 'We took this actress who some other agency wasted, let languish into nothing, and now she's going to make a lot of money for us.'

In any event, WMA didn't land her the starring role in Grudge, and the nekkid greed underscoring Wirtschafter's comments make for a pretty clear roadmap leading out the door and down the street.
Just finished reading (or rather, skimming, since it's far too long) the article. Wirtschafter, the agent in question, actually comes across pretty well in the piece – it's looking at him as someone breaking the mold of who agents normally are, someone who doesn't like to schmooze or flatter or play santa claus, hates socializing, will sometimes recommend that his clients take less money to get a better job, etc – and asking the quesiton of whether a different model of being an agent can work. Not one of the more interesting pieces I've read – mostly, just too long – but it had its moments.
I think the kindest interpretation of his SMG remarks were that they were off the cuff and, Fruit Punch Mouth said, he was referring entirely to her bankability. While she was quite well-known before, I don't know that many people thought she really had the star power to headline a big movie, in a julia roberts, halle berry, nicole kidman kind of way. And she hadn't done that before. The Grudge was huge for her in that way, and moved her to a whole nother level. That's not to excuse his comments, though, which were clearly not thought out – especially since he was speaking to a journalist – and offensive to SMG.

As for the New Yorker - Lioness, you should definitely give it another try. I think Remnick has made it worlds better, and it's easily (IMHO) the best quality writing out there. I finally let my subscriptions to Harpers and Atlantic Monthly lapse - i just didn't have time to read them, and they felt increasingly esoteric and removed from daily concerns – but I guard my New Yorkers jealously. As SNT said, i think it's found a really nice balance between high- and low-brow. It covers a wide range of topics, with room for humor, pop culture, and style as well as weighty political and economic topics, and features aforementioned fabulous writing.
That's why I love Whedonesque. Where else can I get such advice from people I trust? (Even if it doesn't all agree;-))
And the way people are working through rage to a qualified (but still outraged) agreement is fascinating!
Nasty. Don't blame Sarah a bit for her reaction. As far as Sarah being "nothing at all" before the The Grudge, I think it is more the other way around. The Grudge would have been nothing at all without Sarah.
Who the heck is " Hylda Queall"?
Who the heck is "Hylda Queall"?

I believe she teaches Ankleology at Hogwarts.

No, apparently Hylda Queally is a big-time agent who's represented, amongst others, Hilary Swank and Kate Winslet.
Hmmm... a lot of fellow New Yorker readers on this board.

It's impressive to me that they manage to get these sort of quotes from their interviewees. That, and having some of the best investigative reporting re: the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, and the war in Iraq (thanks to Seymour Hersch).

All this, and Anthony Lane. It's the only magazine I subscribe to.
agreed, bookrats and others, re the New Yorker. It's vital.

Those choosing to take digs at the magazine in these comments are missing the point.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm just plain stupid but I don't understand this:

"(...the agent made back in October, at home after a long day that included Hylda Queally ankling WMA for CAA)."

It's wondeful that someone posted who Hylda Queally is, but what do WMA and CAA stand for.
Does anyone know if the producers of Grudge approached her, or did she have to audition for the part in some kind of cattle call of "nobody actresses" all lined up in the same warehouse memorizing sides and being all nervousy? Legend has it SMG was considered to play Rogue in the first X-Men film. When you're "considered" for parts in Hollywood, that generally means you're somebody.

I'm highly critical of SMG as an actress, but even I know she's much more than "nothing at all." In fact I'm probably so critical of her work because I expect more from a woman of her caliber and experience, and she's often left me disappointed. Like an expert gymnast or a decathelon athlete not putting their all into something because they're so good they no longer feel the need to prove themselves to anybody. To say she's "nothing at all" however, is absurd! She didn't get the lead in The Grudge because she was nothing at all. Her name and face were already known worldwide.

This must be something that was taken out of context and blown out of proportion. How could this Dave Wirtschafter get to such a high position within William Morris with such opinions and misstatements?

SMG shouldn't remove herself from the William Morris Agency. The William Morris Agency should remove itself from Dave Wirtschafter. Then we'll see who's the nobody.
WMA = William Morris Agency
CAA = Creative Artists Agency
Hylda Queally (a top agent) had just left William Morris Agency for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), its main rival. Apparently, it shook a lot of people at WMA up. Hope that clarifies – I would *never* have understood that statement either, without reading the article! total industry-speak.
Thanks killinj and acp -
my fault for not reading the article, I got caught up reading all the posts first. Then I figured everybody at this site is so darn smart they know everything :)
Does anyone know if the producers of Grudge approached her, or did she have to audition for the part in some kind of cattle call of "nobody actresses" all lined up in the same warehouse memorizing sides and being all nervousy?

Gellar approached Sam Raimi about the part after someone sent her a copy of the script. The story told by both Gellar and Raimi is that he was initially reluctant but she really pushed for the part. Raimi says he was eventually persuaded after she auditioned for the role, something he had not expected her to agree to do.
Variety even has a page where they give definitions of their most-used terms: slanguage.

Definition of "ankle": -- A classic (and enduring) Variety term meaning to quit or be dismissed from a job, without necessarily specifying which; instead, it suggests walking; "Alan Smithee has ankled his post as production prexy at U."

"Those choosing to take digs at the magazine in these comments are missing the point."

Well, not exactly on my part. I can't stand the is better under Remnick, but it's still overplump with bloated, apparently unedited articles (witness the article in question--it simply saps the life out of a reader...well, *this* reader, anyway.)

Used to love the cartoons, but they've gotten...odd, and not in a good way.
"Gellar approached Sam Raimi..."

Whoa! Wait -- backup a parsec!

*quick lookup at imdb*

SAM RAIMI was an executive producer for The Grudge??? Why didnd't anybody tell me!? I woulda watched the damn thing sooner!

Just checked my mail. NetFlix sent Grudge. The disc is in my hot little hand. Well, not right this second or rather I couldn't type. I feel if I'm going to continue being critical of SMG's acting, I should at least bother watching her latest major work. I have been kinda dreading this, but knowing Raimi had his hand in production lifts my spirits a little bit. =)
A lot of people I know didn't know who SMG was but she certainly wasn't nothing at all! She's had so much success and millions of devoted fans. I support her decision to leave.

Exactly Sari, the Grudge would have been nothing without her.
I know this all seems horribly unfair to SMG and I agree that the agency head's (he is not SMG's agent) remarks were tactless. That doesn't mean he's completely wrong.

However there is a reality to be faced: Hollywood is NOT a democracy. Everything here is based on money and power. Mr. Wirtschafter has both and a lot more than most. Definitely more than SMG who has less of each than many in this town. Someone like him would not hesitate to give his fair assessment of her viability. It's his job.

Seven years on a genre show (brilliant as it and she was) is not perceived as having a great deal of value. It's all about movies and box office and who brings in the most and at the highest quality. "The Grudge" is the first real quality film she's made from Hollywood's point of view. "Scooby Doo" made a lot of money but it was horrible as was the second. "Cruel Intentions" was a pretty good movie, but it really didn't do that well.

I think that Mr. Wirtschafter will come to regret what he said but SMG leaving William Morris isn't going to kill their bottom line. Not even close. It may hurt him in his efforts to bring other clients to William Morris. For Sarah she in a position to bring another agency some money but she won't start a bidding war. I don't blame her for humiliating for someone to say that about you.

SMG has potential to become a bigger star but she's got a lot of work to do first. Hopefully she'll get there and I wish her nothing but the best.

I hope I don't start a fight here. Until not too long ago a good friend of mine was an agent at William Morris...he was my "source" for this post. I'm just trying to illustrate another point of view.
Well, we could be talking about any actor in Hollywood and have examples of people "more famous" and "less famous" than the actor in question every time. I don't want spend a lot of time dissecting all the reasons why I find SMG to be successful, well-known, and certainly "more than nothing". That doesn't speak to the heart of the situation to me.

And kdavid323, I disagree that it is Wirtschafter's job to give his fair assessment of her viability. Whether he is actually her agent, or works for the agency in any capacity, giving his fair assessment of any of the actors they represent is exactly the opposite of his job. At least in public where he can be quoted. When he wants to give a fair assessment, he should be speaking directly to his client, in private.

Whether his comments referred to her bankability and The Grudge's success calling for higher salary, or they referred to the sum of all her work to that point, they were ill-advised.

William Morris will remain in business long after SMG's put their representation far behind her, but that's not the point, nor do I suspect, was it her expectation. I don't think it's a stretch to understand her likely feeling underappreciated and poorly represented by WM. When you don't feel you're getting good service, especially when you pay well for it, you move on.
kdavid323, I have to say I think you've made a very fair point.
His comment may have been refering to her movie track record, SD would have done well whoever acted in it, but it was the words he used. To say somebody is "nothing" is a crass thing to say and suggests he sees ALL his clients as nothing but meal tickets. This is almost certainly true of most agents but to actually say it, to a journalist, is unforgivable. As I said above there are so many things he could have said instead.

And the excuse of "stress" is bull. He's the head of a top Hollywood agency, stress comes with the job. Stress IS the job!
Interesting post, kdavid323. Here's my point of view: Wirtschafter's comments demonstrate only that Hollywood works on an incredibly short-sighted all-or-nothing basis - either an actor is "all" (presumably Julia Roberts or Leo Di Caprio) or she is nothing. By that definition, many of the great actors are "nothing." In which case, SMG should be proud to be part of that company.

But even were I to agree that the guy is in some sense "right" in following the industry herd and assigning such chimerical values to actors (and let's face it, the industry doesn't know what it's doing much of the time), he's still (a) not too smart in saying it to a reporter, when the only effect can be to make him look like a schmuck, and (b) taking credit for something that is entirely not his doing. As already noted, he didn't get Sarah the gig, and he didn't make it a success. So, he crows about SMG's newfound status as a post-nothing, and she walks. No, it won't affect WMA's bottom-line. But he's still a schmuck.
Of course Hollywood is short sighted, SoddingNancyTribe.
If it wasn't "Angel" would still be on the air and genre shows would get greater respect.
‘Wirtschafter’ is German and means ‘manager’ or ‘economist’, which is rather ironic given this guy just managed to loose a client and a bunch of money.

‘Wirtschaft’ can also mean an inn or bar – I see a possible career change there. Bartenders are supposed to be talkative. But then they are also supposed to know when to shut up. Hmm, scrap that suggestion.

What fascinates me much more in this whole debate is the all or nothing aspect (or being 'in the space' as I have learned today). Why does Hollywood always assume that having a “star” in a movie will make it automatically more appealing and therefore more successful financially.

To me it’s just lazy marketing. The amount of movies I have NOT seen because I detest certain actors and categorically refuse to pay to watch them is legend. I wonder if anybody ever has done reverse research: how many viewers do you actually loose by putting this or that person in.

Significant also given that the question "does it put you off that there are no stars in Serenity" was asked at the test screening as somebody posted on this board (I don't remember the exact words. And a big thank you to Joss for bucking the trend.
And FIREFLY would be on the air too if Hollywood wasn't shortsighted. SMG made the right move--she can't stay with an agency that referred to her as "nothing at all". James Tobak, the director of HARVARD MAN said that SMG's being in it is what got it made. Now, granted HM was a low-budget indie that came and would mean nothing to the likes of Mr. Witchcrafter, but when your commitment can get a movie made it means you're somewhere above "nothing at all". So we'll how Our Miss Nothing does when REVOLVER comes out. Btw, CAA is also Joss' representation.

Miranda, Hollywood insists on a "star" because they're very insecure and they think having a name will make the movie more attractive to movie-goers. It works for someone like Adam Sandler if he makes an "Adam Sandler Movie" but if he doesn't (like PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE) it's bye-bye box office. Having a star doesn't necessarily work for you, but not having one can work against you because a lot of people instantly dismiss a movie if no one they heard of is in it. Which is why they asked that audience if they were put off by no stars being in SERENITY.

I am however the exact opposite of you when if comes to not seeing a movie because of a particular actor. There are no actors (and actresses) whose work I avoid because they're in it. None. To tell you the truth I really don't understand hating an actor so much that someone refuses to see their movies because they're in it. It may be a good movie in spite of them or they just might surprise you.
Sometimes it's just the way the actor presents him or herself that is a complete turn off. It doesn't matter what character they're playing or the material they're presenting, you just can't stomach THEM enough to get around it.

I've got a few like that myself, as irrational as it may be. Prime example: Jerry Seinfeld. I can't stand the way he looks, the way he sounds, his mannerisms ... none of it. As a result, I've never seen more than half an episode of his self-titled sitcom. It could be the most brilliant thing to ever grace humanity, and I'd never know because I simply can't stand him. So different strokes. But I'm right there with you, miranda.

As for this debacle, the best I can think is that it's arrogance. But good on SMG for leaving. Her staying despite those comments would've done nothing for her. I'm sure there are plenty of other agents who'd love the opportunity to actually to their job and promote their talent.
I think the big stars have enough people drawn in to outweigh the ones who dislike them. I hate Jennifer Garner for the same reasons you hate Seinfeld but she has more fans than enemies so... cookies crumble... and crumbs fall onto the floor.
Of course (just to get into the Hollywood speak), she should follow Hylda Queally to CAA since they have both ankled WMA. Maybe she'll be more in the space at CAA.

The flip side to that is that I have no idea what I just said but there you go!
Right or wrong, the comment just seems unprofessional. pfft...
All of this just makes me marvel at how tough one really has to be to survive in Hollywood. You hear it all the time, but I still marvel at the self-serving viciousness of people in this industry. Of course, it happens in other professions, too, although not nearly so publicly. But I still marvel at it. SMG had no choice but to walk. And, although she's not my favorite actor in the 'verse, I have even greater respect for her professionalism and survivor skills as a result of this.
‘Wirtschafter’ is German and means ‘manager’ or ‘economist’, which is rather ironic given this guy just managed to loose a client and a bunch of money.

Miranda, here in Hamburg a Wirtschafter is a housekeeper in a brothel. Make of that what you will.
Hmmmm, they say you can tell a lot about a society by the vocabulary in their native language. Hamburg has a word for housekeeper in a brothel? Interesting. ;-)
Lol TactGuy, I have been away from Germland for too long it seems.

cj – wouldn’t go there mate, given that ‘hamburger’ is one of the prime exports of the Anglo-Saxon world, both in MacWord and MacDeed :)
TactGuy, a housekeeper, yes, but in a brothel?

Used to live (ages ago) in Munich...if memory serves (and it's a bit faulty at times), a male housekeeper was a Wirt, oder nicht?

So maybe adding the masculine "er" makes it brothel-specific?

In any event, this particular Wirtschafter is, at a minimum, an ignoramus.
miranda - I was actually headed to a map to see if Hamburg was in an area any of my ancestors came from. As far as exporting "hamburger" goes, the English language sure does like to import words then turn them around and export them again. It's got the biggest overall vocabulary in the world and still no specific word for "housekeeper in a brothel"...until now. Works for me. :-)

Oh, BTW shouldn't it be McWord and McDeed?

[ edited by cj on 2005-03-17 18:41 ]

[ edited by cj on 2005-03-17 18:41 ]
One thing's for sure - this crass comment was just damn rude.

I hope SMG signs to a crackingly hot agency that really appreciates her, as we all do.

(I thought "ankling" meant that the dissee bit the disser in the ankle - seemed sort of right, somehow.)
And, although she's not my favorite actor in the 'verse, I have even greater respect for her professionalism and survivor skills as a result of this.

Would have to agree with palehorse's comment. And having rewatched "Time Bomb" today I'm starting to wonder if perhaps Illyria was not modeled after top Hollywood agents. That "when we were muck" speech is starting to ring a bell ;>
I was actually headed to a map to see if Hamburg was in an area any of my ancestors came from.

cj - regarding your ancestors, you can check out old emigration lists from Hamburg.
From the Hollywood Reporter today:

Halle Berry has exited WMA, nearly 18 months after signing with the agency. It is understood that Berry's exit was prompted in part by a lengthy profile of her agent, WMA president Dave Wirtschafter, featured in the current issue of the New Yorker. In the article, Wirtschafter discusses with writer Tad Friend his rationale for negotiating a feature deal for Berry in which he proposed that the actress agree to lower her salary in exchange for a cut of the film's profits.

That's what I would describe as a lousy week in the office.
Berry left too, well it appears Dave Wirtschafter is learning his lesson the hard way. Even if he's got tons of money loosing clients over his comments has got to hurt!
I believe she teaches Ankleology at Hogwarts.

That just may be the quote of the year, SNT :)
Thanks Tactguy, interesting site. I checked with my mom and it seems that the German branch of the family came from Kassel, Bavaria and Alsace so I guess I cannot claim a connection to Hamburg unless they passed through on their way to the States. Ah well, you made it sound like an interesting place. ;-) End of off-topic musing

On-topic: Even though William Morris has the name recognition and clout to keep it a top dog, things like this do not help them. If the agency is attached in actors’ minds with this kind of blunder often enough, it will catch-up with the agency down the road. Ok, maybe really far down the road, but it is a competitive business and status cannot be taken for granted.

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