The Death Star

I went to lunch with a source in Century City this week, which incidentally now has a horrifying new area code of its own, 424. The building I went to visit is now being called “The Death Star,” but it’s actually the gleaming new home of CAA, the all-powerful talent agency that seems to gobble up all movie stars in its path, the latest being Reese Witherspoon.

The building itself evokes the modernist Arch de la Defense on the outskirts of Paris, all 90-degree angles and glass and steel, and a notable difference from the sinuous curve of the agency’s former building, designed by IM Pei.


When you stand inside the lobby, you look out through a wall of glass looking onto the Avenue of the Stars, and then turn and face a football field-sized white expanse toward the elevators and a set of broad stairs up toward another wall of glass. The scale is huge, and feels like it might have been inspired by a viewing of the movie “The Incredibles.” If you do not validate your parking, as I did not (but will never so err again), you can mark the new high-water level for audacity: $28 for two hours.

Still, it’s only at night, when the CAA building twinkles darkly, that the name ‘Death Star’ seems earned. Staring from across the street, the Century Plaza hotel valet line, the building is a dark, imposing hulk, illuminated by the small blinking lights around its edges. All it needs, actually, is a John Williams score  and a couple of heavy breaths from James Earl Jones to complete the drama.