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Meghan Markle’s signed her deal with Hollywood uber-agent Ari Emanuel’s WME to make her a “power player” in Tinseltown, sources told Page Six.
Markle, 41, will make millions from the deal, which was announced last week and has been in the works for the past year, we’re told.
It will make her a force to be reckoned with in her own right away from Prince Harry’s royal limelight, one source familiar with the signing told us.
A highly placed Hollywood insider told us: “This deal is about making Meghan a power player in Hollywood.
“Even though she is, of course, an actress, this isn’t about movies or shows for Meghan to star in, it is about creating projects for her to produce – she wants to run the show.”
Markle, 41, and Harry, 38, face extraordinary financial pressure.
They have to pay the running costs for their $14.5 million estate in Montecito, CA. and we’re also told their private security costs are currently about $2 million a year.
One source who knows the couple said: “They need to find a way to make money – this is business.”
A second source added: “Through the fact that Archewell (her company with Prince Harry) is now repped by WME it bolsters Harry and Meghan’s bid to become power players in the production arena.”
The Sussexes have been spotted more frequently in Hollywood over the past few months, as Page Six first reported.
They still have their ongoing five-year deal with Netflix – believed to be worth around $100 million according to Forbes – and a rumored $15 million deal with Spotify.
As Page Six reported, Markle is believed to be bringing back her “Archetypes” podcast for a second season.
A source who knows the Sussexes told us that it’s Markle is not trying to move out of Harry’s shadow — but the mom-of-two definitely wants to shrug off all royal drama, which reached a crescendo over whether or not she would attend her father-in-law King Charles’ coronation.
She will not, while Harry will only be there for 24 hours. The deal also presents a counterpoint to her estranged father and siblings speaking out on television about her childhood and their fractured relationships with her.
The source said: “As Meghan has herself said, she’s moved on, she’s living in the present and she’s going to explore her life with the freedoms that her new life affords her.”
The deal will be “more solely focused” on Markle’s business ventures, as the source said: “She has a lot of business ideas, she considers herself an entrepreneur, and now there’s a machine behind her to support those ideas.
Sources drew a parallel with former first lady Michelle Obama, who has her own projects and works with CAA in Hollywood.
Like with Obama, we’re told the agents will work on projects including scripted TV for Markle to produce, alongside new endorsements.
“She founded (former blog) The Tig, and she’s a co-founder of Archewell, so she’s clearly able to do that.”
The new deal will see Markle partner with WME CEO Emanuel, whose reputation for aggressive dealmaking has made him one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, and the subject of the parody character Ari Gold on “Entourage.”
Her team on a day to day basis will be Serena Williams’ agent Jill Smoller and Brad Slater, a behemoth in the movie business, who reps Dwayne Johnson.
An industry insider familiar with the WME deal added, “This is definitely not a move back into acting, Meghan is exceptionally ambitious.
“The deal is for her for film and TV production, brand partnerships and endorsements.
“Both Meghan and Harry have said they want purpose-focused deals for their charities, but she is looking for big Hollywood projects.”
One key plan is to increase Archewell’s ‘brand recognition’ globally.
WME represents the top talent across the industry including writers, film-makers, actors, producers, stylists, fashion designers and their agents package deals for projects in-house.
The company also handles brand licensing, speaking engagements, media production and events, including New York Fashion Week.
The Sussexes are still working with Markle’s longtime attorney, Rick Genow, an LA power lawyer and adviser to the couple since Megxit, alongside Markle’s business manager Andrew Meyer – and they were seen in a private box at the Lakers last month.
The deal’s announcement last week came after long steps towards it. Markle has known Smoller for years through her friend Serena Williams, we’re told.
Smoller even appeared on the Sussexes’ Netflix show *Harry & Meghan”, and recounted the moment when she found out Markle was going on a date with Harry after they went to Wimbledon together in 2016. Williams also appeared in the documentary.
“We were sitting in the players’ box and it’s diagonal to the royal box and we were talking about different dates and different people that were possibilities and I remember seeing an adorable actor sitting next to someone I knew and I’m like ‘hey how about him?’” Smoller said.
“And then the next day I found out that she was gonna be going on a date with H.”
Last year, Markle told Variety she was interested in making romantic comedies. She said: “So much of how my husband and I see things is through our love story.
“For scripted, we want to think about how we can evolve from that same space and do something fun.
“It doesn’t always have to be so serious. Like a good rom-com. Don’t we miss them? I miss them so much.”
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