Literally, he is free of an agent. Deadline reports that Chris Hemsworth, after the success of The Avengers and coming off his biggest payday ever, Snow White and the Huntsman, has broken up with his agent of four years, IFA’s Ilene Feldman. They cite differences stemming from negotiations for Thor 2 and Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, which probably means IFA and Feldman were unable to get Hemsworth as much money as he wants.
There are people who condemn actors for jumping agents or other representatives, calling it disloyal, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—Hollywood is not a team sport. Loyalty is all well and good in its place, but at the end of the day, an actor (or a writer, or a filmmaker) is in business for himself. Hemsworth has to do what’s best for the Hemsworth brand, and IFA is not a big agency. Given his career trajectory, Hemsworth has outgrown what a boutique agency can do for him. At a larger outfit like CAA or WME, Hemsworth will have access to talent packages that make developing projects for him a lot easier and less red-tapey. Such a move was pretty much inevitable.
What is interesting, though, is that Hemsworth won’t be taking agent meetings for months. The simple explanation is that Thor 2 is just about to start principal photography and he’ll be in London shooting through the end of the year. But it is worth noting that his manager, William Ward, is married to UTA’s Louise Ward, who reps Channing Tatum. Hemsworth has a promising future as an action star and could benefit from the same guidance that has shaped Tatum’s career into one of the most surprising successes of the last few years. But then there’s CAA, where most of the other Avengers are housed, and that angle is intriguing.
Marvel has become notorious for their cheapsies talent deals, even though all of their Avenger movies are blockbusters, and The Avengers is rewriting the books on what movies can do at the box office. Personally, I side with Marvel’s business model of going spare on the upfront deals and then paying out quite generously on the back end (RDJ picked up $50 million off The Avengers and will undoubtedly realize even more off Iron Man 3 and The Avengers 2). But I know the reality of a success like The Avengers: the talent is going to want more money. And if Hemsworth joins CAA, consolidating the power base among the talent, a collective bargaining play, the best way to put Marvel over a barrel, becomes possible.
Competition will be fierce when Hemsworth is ready to sit down for meetings in a few months. The patience he’s displaying, his willingness to let things shake out without rushing his next move, is, to me, easily the most interesting thing about Chris Hemsworth.
Attached - Hemsworth celebrating Jamaica during the Olympics.