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Guardians of Hype

24 Feb, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Talking to producers of DVD bonus material about their challenges attracting actors to contribute for free conjured numerous tales of talent unrepentant in their zealousness and/or demands.

The key gripe from the group, however, was the role agents play as gatekeepers to access and information from their actor clients.

“If I've found myself in a corner [on a project] dealing with an agent, I found that nine times out of 10 it won't happen unless the [home entertainment] distributor is willing to fork over large sums of money,” said one producer who wished to remain anonymous.

While researching the story, I stumbled across one of those impasses when trying to contact actor Michael Richards, who played Kramer on “Seinfeld.”

Richards, unlike other “Seinfeld” cast members, was an early participant in the show's DVD box set release and had apparently agreed to contribute bonus material for scale.

When I tried to contact him through his agent, a receptionist told me that Richards rarely gave interviews. I could e-mail the questions and hope for the best.

I found that interesting considering that during the heyday of “Seinfeld,” my editor (at a different publication), and I managed to get Richards' ear for a cover story on his bicycle and the one hanging in Jerry's closet on the “Seinfeld” set.

He even posed with it at his home for our photographer.

Needless to say, I never did get a response from Richards or his people. I'm guessing he was out on his bike.

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