Power agent and managing partner of Creative Arts Agency (CAA), Kevin Huvane, traces his success to the influential women in his life. We think he should, because Meryl Streep is one of those women, and Meryl Streep is a badass.
Huvane told WWD that he rarely gives interviews about himself or his clients because he feels that his clients should speak for themselves. “It’s always clients first,” he said. He did give a little insight into his background and how he signed an array of female talent such as Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Sarah Jessica Parker, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Lopez.
Huvane was the first in his family to get involved in show business, finding his way into the industry while working as a doorman, bellman, and elevator operator at the Wyndham Hotel in New York City during his high school summers. “All the Brits and old Hollywood stars stayed [at the Wyndham],” said Huvane. “I was doing the midnight to 8am shift and John Cassavetes would come in with Gena Rowlands, and I would just talk to them about what they were doing.”
Cassavetes invited Huvane to the Gloria set so that he could get a better sense of the filmmaking experience. Huvane said, “I would ask questions like, ‘What does that person do?’ ‘How does this get done?’ I went so often that they had a chair with my name on it.”
One specific encounter with an actor gave Huvane the push he needed to get involved with a talent agency. “One day there was an actor who didn’t like his suite, so I went up and convinced him to take another suite and this woman in the room pointed at me and said, ‘You should be an agent,’” Huvane remembered. Within the next couple of days, William Morris Agency contacted Huvane and offered him a job.
While working as an agent, Huvane and his mother had a chat that shifted Huvane’s perspective on the talent he signed and the movies his clients made, saying to Makers, “I so vividly remember my mom sitting me down at her kitchen table and saying ‘Where are my movies? Why aren’t you making movies for us?’” In that moment, Huvane knew that he had to push for movies driven by complex female characters like The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep and Gravity starring Sandra Bullock. He calls the emphasis on these films and character roles “not just a smart decision and a moral and ethical decision […] but it’s profitable.” He adds, “If you make these movies and you make them well, lot’s of people go see them.”
Huvane is still on a mission to recognize untapped talent, advocating for Communities in Schools Los Angeles (CIS), which builds relationships between at-risk youth and public schools to increase graduation rates. In fact, the organization recently honored Huvane for his role in putting stories about underrepresented groups at the forefront of television and film. Huvane said, “It’s an amazing thing to be an agent. To fight for your people. To make dreams come true. To create opportunities for people who didn’t think that there were any possible because they were a woman, or not Caucasian, or because of who or how they loved or because they were new to this country. This is why I love CIS.”
Not convinced that underrepresented groups in film and television are worth it? CAA is currently valued at nearly $2 billion, according to WWD. Let that sink in.
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