Hollywood talent agency William Morris endeavour (WME) is playing dirty by placing a series of posters reading “CAAN’T” all around Hollywood on Tuesday in an effort to slam rival agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
The red and white posters are a parody of the CAA logo and “CAAAN’T” is a reference to a recent New York Post blind item asking which Oscar-nominated director was so frusturated with his agency during a meeting that he started yelling “They should be called Caan’t! Caan’t, Caan’t, Caanttttttt!”
It has been reported that “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O.Russell said the now famous quote, which he has denied.
In an effort to bash their competition, WME placed the ads in select locations near both agencies.
“The posters have been spotted along sidewalks from Hollywood to Santa Monica, as well as in 78 display cases at the Westfield Century City mall, which is near several talent agencies, including CAA,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Those signs are right around the corner from CAA, and they aren’t cheap,” a Hollywood insider told Page Six. “For a month, they must cost around $100,000. Whoever did this has to be somebody with serious balls and serious coin.”
Sources tell THR that the attack ads were “authorised by WME co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, and is intended as a joke.”
A WME insider confirmed to Deadline’s Nikki Finke: “We thought it was funny. So we put it up. Someone did a logo here and arranged for the ads to go up around town, not just in Century City Mall but in other strategic places. We also arranged for someone to wear a “CAAN’T” T-shirt on this morning’s Today Show. Everyone takes themselves too seriously. Have some humour.”
But it’s no laughing matter for CAA, who have demanded that the signage be taken down.
THR further explains the tension between the two rival agencies:
“The potshot comes at time when WME has seriously stepped up its competitiveness against CAA. The two agencies are currently fighting in court over commissions from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Risesafter Nolan followed his agent Dan Aloni from CAA to WME last March. Last week, Great Gatsbyactress Carey Mulligan left CAA for WME as well, and Steven Spielberg recently took his TV business from CAA to WME.”
“I knew it had to be Ari,” one producer told THR. “This exactly falls into his sense of humour. Who else has any fun in this business? The intent is clear — just to piss them off. Which I’m sure it’s succeeded in doing.”
Here’s a Wrap photo of one ad in the popular Century City mall, located just steps from the CAA offices:
WME also reportedly created a website, caant.com, which sources say it acquired after hearing about the director’s outburst.
The site now simply displays a homepage featuring a clipping of the NY Post gossip item that inspired the poster prank.
Neither WME or CAA are commenting on the matter.
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