Fanning Sisters' Managers on Building a Smart Philosophy

Echo Lake’s management Comp - Getty - H 2018
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With a slew of rising stars and veteran actors, Echo Lake Entertainment has taken a holistic approach since its launch in 2006. "We are not the kind of managers that glom on to a client's thing."

Representatives aren't always easy people to be around," jokes Echo Lake Entertainment CEO Doug Mankoff. "Our idea was, let's do this business in a different way." After launching Echo Lake's production arm in 1997, Mankoff brought in Mike Marcus, a veteran talent agent and former president and COO of MGM Pictures, to create a management shingle in 2006. "Our philosophies aligned," recalls Marcus of choosing to accept Mankoff's offer.

The company expanded again six years ago, when Graciella Sanchez and Brittany Kahan came to Echo Lake together from boutique talent management company One Talent Management, bringing their clients with them, including sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning. "It maybe wasn't the most obvious leap that people would have expected, but it felt like the right one to us," recalls Kahan. "We had multiple meetings with Doug, Mike and [Andrew Spaulding] over the course of several months, and every meeting we left feeling that these were people that understood what we wanted to do." Adds Sanchez, "The company felt like it was wide open for us to do something dynamic here."

The shingle includes a diverse array of clients, from up-and-comers like Lana Condor, star of Netflix's hit teen rom-com To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and Disney's future Princess Jasmine, Naomi Scott (who starred in the Power Rangers reboot), to more seasoned talents like Homeland's Mandy Patinkin and Six Feet Under's Frances Conroy. "Sometimes it is not the star of the movie, but a supporting character that every time they come onscreen you are captivated," says Sanchez of the types of talent they are drawn to.

"Our whole philosophy on management is about circling the entire career," explains Kahan of the company's holistic approach. "We don't look at it as though we are in one lane. It's really about being creative and coming up with goals together and seeing those through."  

Echo Lake Management's staff has grown from three to 12, including literary managers, who handle a growing stable of behind-the-camera talent. Oscar-nominated The Post writer Liz Hannah and director Floria Sigismondi, who worked with Sanchez and Kahan on the Dakota Fanning starrer The Runaways, are on the roster. Marcus is increasingly excited by the establishing of Echo Lake as a major presence in television. By his count, Echo Lake will staff more than 80 writer clients on TV shows this year.

Being housed under the same roof as the now two-decade-old production-financing outfit "helps us in a producorial way," says Sanchez. Indeed, two managers, Zadoc Angell and Dave Brown, are executive producing the Syfy series Van Helsing, which is set to premiere its third season. Kahan is producing the Echo Lake-backed project All the Bright Places, based on the New York Times best-seller that was co-adapted by Hannah and will star Elle Fanning. Adds Marcus, "We are not the kind of amateurs that glom on to a client's thing in order to warrant us being producers on a project."


This story first appeared in the Sept. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.