EXCLUSIVE: Michael Bay has left WME, the agency where he has spent the bulk of his directing career. The exit has been in the works for a couple of weeks. Bay isn’t taking meetings at the moment, and in a memo he sent the agency, hey left open the possibility of a return. But it seems unlikely from here.
Bay had been repped for years principally by Ari Emanuel and this goes back to when his primary was John Fogelman, latter of whom exited the agency a decade ago. Bay has had a number of point agents, but his main guy has been Rich Cook. Until Cook exited to be one of the founding partners of Range Media Partners. Cook continued to share Bay with WME at Range, but the Transformers director’s run with WME seemed to sour over the experience with his last film, the shot in the pandemic action film Ambulance. The pic was backed by Endeavor Content, and there was a dispute over fees and budget spend.
Sources said it came down to a director whose films have grossed billions, not feeling the love at the agency, with Emanuel focused on empire building and Cook out of there. Both sides said the split is amicable, with each side saying they’ll reassess in six months. Range will rep him, but this isn’t a case where the management/production company tried to cut out the agency. With a few notable exceptions — Tom Hardy, Bradley Cooper and Keira Knightley among them — Range has been fine keeping its clients with agencies, and 96% of its clients have agents. Bay doesn’t have his next film, but is percolating a few things and it will likely be a big budget endeavor. Stuff might blow up, but not here.