Why he matters: Austen doesn't just provide legal counseling to clients. He recently helped renovate JonahHill's career, structuring a deal for him to co-star in and co-write 22 Jump Street. He also closed SethMacFarlane's deal for Ted 2, a sequel to his $550 million-grossing talking teddy bear movie, and helped the Family Guy creator transition into live acting with A Million Ways to Die in the West, which MacFarlane also co-wrote, produced and directed.
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he's witnessed: "A famous studio chief didn't get a spec script I was selling on behalf of a client. He called me up to tell me he was calling my boss to get me fired. That was funny."
Why he matters: The notoriously press-shy attorney couldn't avoid making headlines when he cut Charlie Sheen from his client list last year, allegedly because the bizarrely behaving actor was no longer heeding his counsel. Bloom won't comment on Sheen -- or on anything at all for that matter. He won't even name names from his client list (which includes JerryBruckheimer, NicolasCage, Sylvester Stallone and ArnoldSchwarzenegger).
What he wanted to be growing up: "A businessman."
Why he matters:Perhaps Hollywood's most in-demand dealmaker, he this year helped HarrisonFord return for another Star Wars movie and was behind DreamWorks Animation's move to Fox. Also with him: OprahWinfrey, EddieMurphy and RidleyScott, along with top companies Working Title and ReelFX.
How he unwinds:An avid science fiction fan and fisherman, he's been spending a lot of time in Bolivia reeling in dorado.
Why he matters:Brown says his approach to the law revolves around getting the right things done. What he got done lately: negotiating CBS' renewal of Under the Dome (for clients StevenSpielberg and StephenKing), helping ChrisHemsworth to star in MichaelMann's Cyber and multiple deals for DwayneJohnson to star in Hercules, San Andreas and the next Fast & Furious film.
What he wanted to be growing up: "A poet."
Why she matters: She negotiated SamMendes' deal to direct another Bond movie; closed a deal for Breaking Bad producer MarkJohnson for two new series at Sony; set up TimBurton's next directing project (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) as well as his producing deal for an Alice in Wonderland sequel; and helped NancyMeyers make a deal with Warner Bros. to write, produce and direct The Intern (with client ScottRudin exec producing). All, apparently, without breaking a sweat. "I'm an exceptionally calm person," she says. "I don't let anybody rattle me."
Mentor: "SherryLansing. I'm impressed with how she's created this second chapter of her life."
Why he matters:Dern's clients had their ups and downs last year. ZackSnyder scored a supersized hit (Man of Steel), while GoreVerbinski (The Lone Ranger) probably never wants to see another masked cowboy. Then there was Bad Grandpa: Dern repped a trifecta of comedic talent behind that $100 million sleeper hit -- writer SpikeJonze, director JeffTremaine and star JohnnyKnoxville.
What he wanted to be growing up: "Cop."
Why he matters: Diemer's clients stick with him (25 years, in BillPaxton's case), maybe because he doesn't object to creative risks. Like when AlexanderPayne insisted on making a black-and-white film (Nebraska) or when RolandEmmerich decided to direct a movie in which no landmarks get destroyed by aliens or bad weather (Stonewall).
Best argument he's made: "When I've convinced [all parties] that what we're doing is in everyone's mutual interest," says Diemer, an art aficionado. "When you leave too much blood on the floor, you're just setting the stage for problems down the line."
Why he matters: After client ChrisTerrio won an Oscar for Argo, Feldman struck him a deal for one of the most coveted scribe gigs in town: Warners' Batman-Superman project. Feldman also helped handle a sweet deal for MarcWebb to direct The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and negotiated KieferSutherland's much-anticipated return to 24.
Best career moment: "I was a young lawyer and had just signed my first big client, over drinks in a bar. Minutes later, he was in a fistfight outside the men's room and as the bouncer dragged him out in a headlock, I ran behind, yelling, 'I'm his lawyer, and I'm going to tell you why you are making a big mistake.'"
Why she matters: PaulWalker's death was hard enough to deal with -- he'd once been Felker's client -- but the delay it caused on Fast & Furious 7 also created scheduling nightmares for client VinDiesel's future projects. "It was horrible for everybody," she says. Still, in the midst of it all, she managed to seal JesseEisenberg and GalGadot's deals to star in Warners' Batman-Superman movie, negotiated a new producing deal for GregBerlanti, and ironed out JeremyPiven's deal for the Entourage movie.
How she dresses for success: "I wear T-shirts and sweatpants. I'm on the phone all day. No one ever sees me. If you need a lawyer in Armani, then imagine me in Armani."
Why he matters: The most impressive thing about BenAffleck's deal to play Batman in Warners' Batman-Superman movie wasn't the dollar figure -- which still hasn't leaked to the press -- or that the contract also includes sequels, with the possibility of Affleck directing. It's that Fischer, who also reps SimonCowell and SachaBaronCohen, kept the deal secret for months after signing. "If we couldn't keep confidentiality, we wouldn't have clients for very long," he says.
Best argument he's made: "Why my wife should marry me."
Why he matters: He made the deal for JonCryer to return to Two and a Half Men for what will likely be the hit comedy's last season, and helped MickJagger continue his move into movies with a producing deal on the Elvis biopic Last Train to Memphis. He repped JamesWan in a banner year -- Insidious: Chapter 2, The Conjuring, Fast & Furious 7 -- and has also been busy putting writers to work, sealing deals for SheldonTurner to do Splinter Cell and ChristopherMcQuarrie to write and direct Mission: Impossible 5.
Why he matters: He's had a good year with writers. Most recently, there was the bidding war for Ricki and the Flash, client DiabloCody's script about a rock 'n' roll mom that caught fire after MerylStreep signed on to star and JonathanDemme to direct. Frankel also reps ChrisMorgan, the Fast & Furious screenwriter who has a movie producing deal with Universal and a TV deal at Fox. New to Frankel's client list is showrunner MickeyFisher, who wasn't even a guild member when CBS ordered Extant, a sci-fi drama exec produced by StevenSpielberg and starring HalleBerry.
Mentor (fictional): Arnie Becker in LA Law. "Many of the people at UCLA law school were aspiring to be him at the time."
Why he matters:Lately there's been enough drama in Gendler's office to fill a DavidE. Kelley show (a client, by the way). The breakup of Star Trek writing partners AlexKurtzman and RobertoOrci (they will no longer be making features together, just TV) must have required plenty of lawyerly TLC. Scandal producer ShondaRhimes has just joined his client list (which also includes MerylStreep), which will undoubtedly liven up the waiting room. Luckily, he's got a good excuse to dash out of town: Last year, he struck a deal for RobMarshall to reteam with SamMendes for the Broadway revival of Cabaret.
Why he matters: He's important enough to DickWolf that the TV producer brings Gilbert-Lurie to upfronts every year. But he also reps TinaFey, helping her iron out deals to produce two new shows this fall (NBC's Tooken and Fox's Cabot College), as well as a movie with AmyPoehler. And whatever SandraBullock decides to do next after her $70 million-plus payday for Gravity, he'll be her lawyer again.
What he wanted to be growing up: "Honestly, I wanted to be a lawyer."
Why he matters: PaulGreengrass, SteveMcQueen, QuentinTarantino, DarrenAronofsky -- he could practically open a second Directors Guild with his client list. (And he's also got ChristianBale, to boot.)
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he's witnessed: "I saw firsthand HarveyWeinstein confronting the Shine producers at Sundance [in 1996] after losing the picture. Harvey was upset, and there was a fun bump or two, but I wish it was as crazy as reported."
Why he matters: He helped U2 find a new manager for the first time since the group formed in the 1970s -- it's now Madonna's guy, GuyOseary -- and helped JimmyIovine create Beats Music, a digital company that competes with the likes of Pandora. In the coincidence or kismet department: Grubman recently bought SueMengers' old house, the setting for I'll Eat You Last,a stage play about the famed agent that was revived with Mengers played by his longtime client BetteMidler.
Best career moment: "The present. I'm having the best time of my life."
Why he matters: In 2013, he made RobertDowneyJr. a bundle for Iron Man 3 (reportedly in the $50 million range) and arranged for JonStewart to take the summer off from The Daily Show to direct a movie in the Middle East. This year, he has drawn up papers for StephenColbert to take over Late Show from the retiring DavidLetterman.
Mentor: "My idol is SteveMcQueen, but my mentors were KenZiffren and SkipBrittenham."
Why he matters:Turns out what RussellCrowe really wants to do is direct, so his lawyer helped arrange a deal to put him behind the camera for The Water Diviner. Other A-listers on Hergott's client list: BradPitt (who won an Oscar as a producer on 12 Years a Slave), JakeGyllenhaal (back-to-back films, Everest and the boxing pic Southpaw) and NeilPatrickHarris, now starring on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed by Hergott client MichaelMayer.
He needs to send flowers to: Harris and Mayer. He missed Hedwig's opening night: "I told them I'd rather come to New York in a couple of weeks, when I can actually see them."
Why he matters: If anybody deserved a good seat at the Oscars, it was this guy. His client JuliaRoberts was nominated for August: Osage County, firm client ChiwetelEjiofor was nominated for 12 Years a Slave, and client JaredLeto took home a statuette for Dallas Buyers Club. It was a good year for clients DouglasZwick and LucyFisher as well, with the birth of their new franchise Divergent. How has Hirsch stayed sane while practicing law in Hollywood for 50 years? It doesn't hurt to also be a licensed therapist.
What he wanted to be growing up:"Baseball player."
Why he matters: With DavidLetterman's retirement, one of Jackoway's biggest clients is slowing down (Jackoway crafted a two-year extension to the host's contract in 2013 that will keep StephenColbert on ice until 2015). But he and partner KarlAusten still have SethMacFarlane's TV empire to watch over, as well as client J.J. Abrams.
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he's witnessed: "I watched an actress have a horrible tantrum with a flight attendant over how her dress was going to be stored. It was out of control until the captain let her know that she would be missing her appointment in New York [at the upfronts] if she didn't take her seat and quiet down."
Why he matters: Behind every powerful woman in Hollywood, there's a guy with a law degree -- usually this guy. In January, he negotiated a three-year extension of Universal Pictures chairman DonnaLangley's contract, and reps A+E's NancyDubuc and NBCUniversal's BonnieHammer. He has guy clients, too: RyanSeacrest and LorneMichaels (he handled his SNL contract extension and exec-producer deals for TheTonight Show and Late Night).
What he wanted to be growing up: "Until I packed my belongings at age 27 and decided to drive to L.A. to look for an entertainment lawyer job, I had no idea."
Why he matters: Two of Johnson's clients, The Lego Movie filmmakers PhilLord and ChristopherMiller, got hit by a ton of bricks this year -- tiny plastic ones. Johnson already has signed up the duo, whom he has repped since their early days on MTV's Clone High, for a sequel. He also helped assemble a sequel to Ride Along (he represents star IceCube, director TimStory and producer WillPacker) and is helping TylerPerry increase his footprint on OprahWinfrey's OWN network (she's another client).
What he wanted to be growing up: "A fireman, like my dad."
Why he matters: The Atlanta-based attorney reps some of the biggest names in music: Pitbull, the WhitneyHouston estate, JimmyBuffett and JulioIglesias. He recently represented Scooter Braun Management in selling a percentage of its business and negotiated a new Grammy-related TV show from the U.K. titled MIMS(Moments in Music), which will air later this year.
Mentor: "JamesBrown, my first client in showbiz."
Why she matters: She helped WillFerrell's comedy company, Gary Sanchez Productions, launch a female-driven division (GloriaSanchez) and also worked on finally getting that Anchorman sequel into theaters (it didn't hurt that the original grossed $85 million worldwide 10 years ago). Also on her comedy-heavy client list: JimCarrey, VinceVaughn and PaulRudd, along with Marvel man SamuelL. Jackson (who has now played NickFury in six superhero films).
Best argument she's made: "Why my kids should not be on their phones at the dinner table."
Why he matters: Getting your screenwriter client creative control over a massive new Warner Bros. franchise is all but impossible, especially when that client has never written a screenplay before. But when it's J.K. Rowling, magic happens. The deal, more than a year in the making, will have Rowling pen the script for the first in a planned trilogy called Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. He also helped Rowling set up her HBO/BBC miniseries adaptation of The Casual Vacancy.
What he wanted to be growing up: "Owner of a hotel chain."
Why he matters: What a time to be in the JustinTimberlake business. His The 20/20 Experience was the top-selling album of 2013, while his world tour has just been extended. "It's been like the Energizer bunny," Lande says of the musical juggernaut he helped create. He also cut deals to promote Shakira's new album and handled her negotiations to remain on NBC's The Voice.
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he's witnessed:"It wasn't a tantrum, but it was inexplicable. I was representing DMX and renegotiating his record contract. He made us meet on the top of a mountain in Arizona at midnight. It was crazy."
Why she matters: Summer arrives early -- like, in May -- for Lichter, with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (directed by client MarcWebb) and Maleficent (written by client LindaWoolverton). Another client, novelist BruceWagner, will be heading to Cannes this year with David Cronenberg's long-awaited screen adaptation of Wagner's Maps to the Stars.
What she wanted to be growing up:"An existential psychiatrist, poet, singer-songwriter."
Why he matters: KristenStewart's lawyer landed her a deal to become the new face of Chanel's fashion line. His client NoahHawley's new series, Fargo, premiered on FX in April. And, along with partner ScottWhitehead, McKuin also got young new client RaffeyCassidy a deal to star opposite GeorgeClooney in Disney's upcoming Tomorrowland.
Best career moment: "A memorable Robin Hood moment was when a big-name director's attorney came to my office on a Friday night to trade a six-figure check for the box of evidence of his client's 'alleged borrowing' of my client's writing -- the opening week of a tentpole studio release. Most satisfying!"
Why he matters: Leslie's brother just brought two new lawyers into his firm, ToddWeinstein and EthanCohan, to help further beef up the practice's TV development and production business. Not that it needed much beefing up: Moonves handled sister-in-law JulieChen's deals for Big Brother and The Talk, and renegotiated RayRomano's role on NBC's Parenthood.
Best career moment: "Sitting in my conference room with RayRomano, RoryRosegarten and SamHaskell, smoking a cigar to celebrate Ray signing a contract making him the highest-paid TV actor of all time."
Why she matters: Morris closed a flurry of recent film deals for clients CameronDiaz (The Other Woman, Sex Tape, Annie), ChloeMoretz (The 5th Wave, Laggies, If I Stay and Dark Places) and KateHudson (Rock the Kasbah, Wish I Was Here), and scored big for up-and-comer BrittRobertson with a role opposite GeorgeClooney in Disney's Tomorrowland. And her stable of TV clients continues to grow (she's up to nearly 40).
What she wanted to be growing up: "I watched the Oscars every year and dreamed of being an actress. Then I got the lead in my college play and realized how much I hated being onstage and how bad I was at it."
Why he matters: DamonLindelof remains cooped up with his new HBO series The Leftovers, but Myman's other clients lately have been more visible. BobNelson's Nebraska script finally got made by AlexanderPayne (and got nominated for an Oscar), while Myman helped MariaBello turn a "Modern Love" column into a book contract. He also made deals for BenjaminBratt and MaryLynnRajskub to appear in Fox's 24 event series and got The Big Bang Theory's SimonHelberg a deal to write, direct and star in his own indie movie.
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he's witnessed: "I watched two litigators crawl on the table to throttle each other."
Why he matters: He made DavidDuchovny one of the richest cable actors (thanks to Californication'sseven seasons) and just negotiated for him one of the sweetest network deals. A source says the pact for Aquarius, NBC's CharlesManson crime drama, is the highest episodic payday for an actor in a new series. Other clients: AllisonJanney (back on TV with Mom), director BaltasarKormakur (shooting Everest), ChrisPratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and oh, yeah, PeterJackson.
Best career moment: "Being thanked by PeterJackson from the stage at the Oscars."
Why she matters: She's got her hands in everything from Top Chef to Braxton Family Values to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. But she doesn't just do reality TV. She helped RobThomas crowdfund his Veronica Mars revival and negotiated that $30 million contract for Mad Men creator MatthewWeiner.
How she unwinds:Sipping vino with her husband, Fox TV chairman GaryNewman, at their winery in Solvang, Calif.
Why he matters: He once called himself a "boneheaded, overzealous lawyer" -- for asking journalists at the 2007 A Mighty Heart premiere to sign a document limiting their questions to client AngelinaJolie -- but he hasn't made a boneheaded move since. He got AshtonKutcherCharlieSheen's old job on Two and a Half Men and has helped guide RyanGosling's rise up the A-list.
Mentor: He won't say, but he did go to Crossroads School with client MichaelBay.
Why he matters: Yes, there are conservatives in Hollywood. This one, whom GeorgeW. Bush once appointed to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, has some of the town’s most outspoken — and powerful — lefties as his clients, including StevenSpielberg and OprahWinfrey (though, in true bipartisan fashion, he also reps Republican ClintEastwood).
Best argument he’s made: “Marry me, Madeline.”
Why he matters:His already impressive TV client list — Parks and Recreation co-creator MichaelSchur, Girls producer JenniKonner, Big Bang Theory star JimParsons — expanded this year to include Mad Men’s ElisabethMoss and Big Bang showrunner StevenMolaro. He also handled deals for producer AlecBerg (Silicon Valley) and screenwriters AndrewCohen and BrendanO’Brien (Neighbors) and negotiated WillForte’s straight-to-series order from Fox for the comedy Last Man on Earth.
Best argument he’s made:“As a general rule, when my other arguments aren’t working, I tend to say ‘C’mon!’ very forcefully.”
Why he matters:One client alone — BenStiller — is enough to make Rose one of the busiest lawyers in town. In December, he lined up a deal with Legendary for TV and digital content from Stiller's Red Hour Films while continuing to oversee Stiller's regular film projects (like a Dodgeball sequel). He has other important clients, too, like StevenZaillian, who'll be reuniting with StevenSpielberg for the first time since Schindler's List for a Montezuma-Cortez epic at DreamWorks. He also is orchestrating ChrisCarter's return (with the upcoming Amazon series The After) and repping StephenKing's screen deals.
Why he matters: You’d think representing the Nolan brothers — Christopher and Jonathan — would be a full-time job. And it is: Schenkman spent lots of time negotiating Christopher’s massive deal for worm-hole- jumping sci-fi film Interstellar (which Jonathan co-wrote) and Jonathan’s deal for CBS’ Person of Interest. But Schenkman still has time for firm clients, including JohnnyDepp and JerryBruckheimer.
What he wanted to be growing up:“Sportscaster.”
Why he matters:He closed KevinHart’s deal for Ride Along 2 and has negotiated on behalf of SarahJessicaParker, EdHelms and TonyGoldwyn. But his most novel recent pact has to be the so-called 10/90 deal he made for KevinJames’ untitled sitcom for Lionsgate that guarantees 100 episodes if ratings goals are hit for the first 10.
Best career moment:“The Cannes screening of [client] AngLee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Why he matters:He made the deals for Emma Stone’s return as Peter Parker’s love interest in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and MindyKaling’s return for a third season of The Mindy Project. He’s also closed deals for AndySamberg (of Brooklyn Nine- Nine), including an online project for Samberg’s sketch comedy troupe Lonely Island.
Mentor:“A combination of all my incredibly talented partners. And,” he jokes, “HowardStern.”
Why she matters:There’s nothing like a newly minted Oscar winner to brighten up a law office. Shaw handles 12 Years a Slave best supporting actress LupitaNyong’o, who is the new face of Lancome. Shaw has been repping some of Hollywood’s most successful African-American actors for 20 years, including LaurenceFishburne (now doing an ABC pilot called Black-ish), JamieFoxx (in Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Sundance-winning director AvaDuVernay (who soon will shoot the MLK biopic Selma).
Biggest Hollywood tantrum she’s witnessed:“It involved me walking very close to the wall in a parking garage because I feared the opposing counsel was going to run me over.”
Why he matters:MichaelFassbender and Fifty Shades of Grey star JamieDornan became the latest boldface names on his firm’s roster, joining HughJackman, MorganFreeman, AnneHathaway and AmyAdams. Sloane even brings his work home with him: He’s married to actress EmbethDavidtz, who was on Mad Men for a season and plays MaryParker in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
What he wanted to be growing up:“Astronaut.”
Why he matters:Along with his more traditional duties as music attorney, Stiffelman has been delving into the digital realm, helping Trent Reznor launch Beats Music, his new streaming venture; advising next-gen music publisher Kobalt on novel licensing models; and working with merchandising vet DellFurano on his new full-service branding business, Epic Rights (it's already landed Madonna, BarbraStreisand and Kiss as clients).
Best argument he's made: "I convinced a woman who believed that she was MickJagger's wife that Mick wasn't on Earth anymore and the guy she thought was Mick was a clone that he left behind."
Why he matters: The guy who helped DanielRadcliffe become Harry Potter continues to work magic for his clients, negotiating ShaileneWoodley’s deals for The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent franchise and making MartinFreeman a star outside of the U.K. with FX’s Fargo (and, of course, The Hobbit). He also reps SethRogen and EvanGoldberg.
Best career moment: “Signing a then-unknown child actor named DanielRadcliffe.”
Why he matters:He’s got a client list brimming with award winners — JenniferLawrence, LeonardoDiCaprio, ReeseWitherspoon, CharlizeTheron — but he’s been known to make a headline or two of his own. Last year, the fierce advocate for gay rights gave a speech at the GLAAD Awards, calling JusticeAntoninScalia an “old-fashioned bully.”
Best career moment:The day in June when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (with Scalia dissenting). “I got chills and had tears coming down my face,” he told THR the morning of the decision. “I know the four plaintiffs. I’m texting them this morning. These are people who will go down in history.”
Why he matters: What started in 2002 as a “boutique firm” has grown into a department-store- size practice. Weber’s latest catch is ChristophWaltz, who joins clients such as JonHamm, LouisC.K. and AndrewGarfield (presumably getting a big pay bump for Spider-Man 2; he reportedly made a mere half-mil to do the first film).
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he’s witnessed:“It was at a Golden Globes party. After fire marshals temporarily closed the back garden, a well-known actor forced his way past guests and threatened to have an employee fired if he wasn’t allowed through.”
Why he matters:Wertheimer was critical in sealing J.J. Abrams’ deal for Disney’s Star Wars relaunch. He also worked with WesAnderson on The Grand Budapest Hotel and PaulThomasAnderson on Inherent Vice. But “Werth” doesn’t do business only with Hollywood A-listers; he helps international filmmakers such as Welsh director GarethEvans (Godzilla) and Belgian auteur FelixvanGroeningen.
What he wanted to be growing up:“Center fielder for the Giants.”
Why he matters:He’s getting more involved in financing and other corporate transactions — he negotiated RatPac-Dune’s $450 million slate financing deal with Warner Bros., OddLot’s distribution pact with Lionsgate and Skydance’s partnership with Paramount — but he still makes time for movie and TV star clients (like JuddApatow and SteveCarell).
Biggest Hollywood tantrum he’s witnessed:“My daughter, at age 10, when I told her she could not be an actress.”
Why he matters:If you’re the female lead in a blockbuster franchise, Yorn is your man. This past year, he restructured deals for ZoeSaldana in Avatar (after JamesCameron announced a fourth film in the series) and for ScarlettJohansson (as her Black Widow character continues to make appearances across the Marvel franchise universe). And Yorn keeps expanding EllenDeGeneres’ empire, striking deals with Cover Girl and Beats Music and helping to create a new, fully financed entertainment company that will offer Ellen-branded products and services.
Mentor:“My grandfather, who passed away recently at 104. He told me to approach everything I do fearlessly with my heart.”
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery