Jeff Berg's Resolution Agency to Cease Operations (Exclusive)
The talent agency has suffered from defections and low morale
Jeff Berg's Resolution talent agency is winding down, Berg told employees on Monday.
The agency has been besieged for months by rumors about its future. Berg, the former longtime ICM chairman, launched Resolution in January 2013 with financial backing from Phoenix-based investor Jahm Najafi. Resolution set about aggressively hiring agents and moved into lavish offices in Century City, but without major stars and lucrative television packaging fees, the agency has lagged behind competitors.
In March, Berg announced that China-based Bison Capital would take a stake in Resolution, becoming the first Chinese company to invest in a U.S. talent agency. But Bison apparently was late on funding for months and often would be short on payments, and the situation came to a head this weekend. After a negotiation that is said to have been extremely contentious between Berg and reps for the Chinese company, a decision was made to cease operations.
A Resolution spokesperson confirmed the shutdown to The Hollywood Reporter but declined to comment further. Berg is said to be helping agents and clients find new homes. Resolution represents Lindsay Lohan, Rose McGowan, Nick Cassavetes and Danny Elfman. It is unclear at this stage where many of the agents will end up. Also unclear is where the remaining talent — Ray Winstone and Paul Verhoeven are also among the more high-profile names the agency repped — will land.
The fate of Resolution illuminates the challenges inherent in Hollywood companies working with Chinese financiers. Berg is said to have been assured that support from Bison would be ongoing and was blindsided when the company refused to continue its support.
The agency had been trying to stem some losses of key players. In July, Steve Alexander departed to ICM Partners, taking with him key clients such as David Duchovny, Tatiana Maslany and Joy Bryant.
But in September, Resolution hired Brehan Fitzgerald, a vp in 20th Century Fox’s casting division.
Now however, she, along with others, face the prospect of having their last payroll be Nov. 1, according to sources. The agency employed around 50 staffers.
Borys Kit contributed to this report.
Oct. 6 12:15 p.m. Updated with clarification on length of funding dispute.