Dan Aloni, a CAA motion picture agent who represents Christopher Nolan, Michel Gondry and David Dobkin, among others, was fired from the agency Wednesday morning, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation.
CAA declined to comment.
Aloni was said to be not compatible with the culture of the agency.
The news hit the Hollywood agency community like the bombshell that it was. Other top agents told TheWrap they had not seen this coming.
Aloni, who had built a roster of top director clients at UTA, was a top earner for CAA. He had been courted by Endeavor but ultimately moved with his clients to CAA in 2005.
But his style is much more of a loner than the team-oriented approach favored by the powerhouse talent agency, according to several people who know him all of whom who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"He did not fit," one such insider told TheWrap. "His way of doing things is very singular. That is not the CAA way."
Still unclear was what precipitated the sudden firing.
According to an insider at CAA, partner Richard Lovett stepped out before the end of a motion picture staff meeting Wednesday morning, then returned to call the agents together.
Soon after, Aloni (pictured above left, with client Christopher Nolan and Nolan's wife and producing partner Emma Thomas) was gone from CAA.
When Aloni joined CAA from UTA in 2005, he brought Nolan and Tom Shadyac with him. Since joining CAA, Aloni has been deeply involved in packaging deals for such stars as Jim Carrey and Robert De Niro.
It is extremely rare for an an agency to fire an agent who represents such high-powered talent and brings in so much revenue. Usually, when agents leave it is the agency — rather than the agent — who is surprised. In this case, "it's a cultural signal inside of CAA to scare … everybody," a former longtime agent told TheWrap.
What can now be expected is a scramble on the part of CAA and rival agencies to woo the marquee clients left in limbo by Aloni's firing.