Following up on yesterday's shocking news that Reese Witherspoon was leaving rebound agency Endeavor for the welcoming, evil embrace of longtime suitor CAA after just a year as a lusciously bankable bride in Ari Emannuel's talent-harem, the LA Weekly's Nikki Finke fills in the backstory on how the representational three-way between Witherspoon and the competing chop shops resolved itself:
[After Witherspoon's beloved agent retired in 2005], it came down to Endeavor and CAA. At CAA, Bryan Lourd led his agents' presentation which emphasized how dominant the agency was on the Hollywood landscape. Endeavor talked with her about an overall business plan that took her beyond just being an actress for hire.
At the time, I'm told, Endeavor addressed her concerns that Legally Blonde was being turned into a Broadway musical ("Going Blonde" which opens April 29th) based on her character Elle Woods; they told her what she could do in the future to "own" her characters or at least make money on them across different platforms of production. Based on that, she decided that Endeavor's meeting was better than CAA's, so she chose Endeavor in January 2006. Immediately after her decision, I'm told that Lourd leaned on Management 360's co-founder Evelyn O'Neill, giving her one of those Ovitz-ian "this is really going to affect our relationship on a long-term basis" speeches known for their unpleasantness. "There's no doubt it was a veiled threat," an insider told me.
With Witherspoon emotionally vulnerable from the break-up of her marriage to Ryan Phillippe, CAA knew that it was time to make their veiled threats a little more overt if they wanted to bring her back into the fold; as we perfunctorily speculated yesterday, they appealed to her protective, motherly instincts, knowing that inviting the actress to tour their impressive new headquarters and accidentally stumble upon photos of her two young children atop a pair of freshly garnished plates, then quietly remarking, "Oh, we won't be needing these if you sign on," would be all the convincing she needed about the benefits of Creative Artists representation.