Hollywood Reporter names 4 alumni ‘Fastest Rising Stars’

By Keane Muraoka-Robertson

Four alumni are listed among the “35 under 35” by the Hollywood Reporter. Lauren Abrahams ’98, Lily Collins ’07, Steve Gersh ’01 and Ramon Wilson ’95 were featured in the Hollywood Reporter’s 18th annual Next Gen 2011: Hollywood’s Fastest-Rising Stars.

The Hollywood Reporter said those featured show talent in their fields, fully dedicating themselves to their work and taking on big projects at an age where many others are just starting out.

Abrahams, currently Director of Production at Columbia Pictures, looks for material to buy and develop.

“I read a lot of incoming material and consider whether or not we should buy them, and then I’ll make a recommendation,” Abrahams said. “A lot of it is looking for screenwriters to write certain stories that we know we want to tell or book adaptions and filling writing assignments.”

Abrahams is also responsible for hiring writers and directors as well as making sure the projects are ready for the production phase. Once in the production phase, Abrahams also oversees managing and preparation for the movie’s release.

Abrahams has worked at Columbia Pictures for five years, and has held her current position for about three and a half years. Prior to working in the entertainment business, she had no knowledge of what it meant to be a Director of Production.

“Once I got my foot in the door, I realized that there was this whole opportunity to be involved in storytelling as a studio executive,” Abrahams said. “It really started to appeal to me.”

Her most recent project, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is scheduled for release in December.

Abrahams attributes her work ethic and the time management skills to her days at Harvard-Westlake.

Gersh, a talent agent, has been working at Gersh Agency for three and a half years. His grandfather, Phil Gersh, started the agency in 1949.

Gersh knew that he wanted to work in the entertainment industry from an early age, he said.

“My grandfather started the company that both my dad and uncle are currently running,” Gersh said. “I interned there a few times during high school. I thought at one point that I would do sports representation, but I just kind of segued into working with actors and actresses.”

Gersh attended Duke University as an undergraduate where he earned a major in political science and history and a minor in art. He attended USC film school for graduate school and received his masters in fine arts in producing.

“I love the fact-based nature and that everyday there’s something big and exciting,” Gersh said. “I also love the ability to help people accomplish what they want with their careers.”

Gersh’s client list consists of many up and coming actors and actresses including Kristen Stewart, best known for the “Twilight Saga,” Bridget Mendler from Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie” and Josh Bowman from ABC’s “Revenge.”

Collins, an actress, recently worked on the movie “Mirror, Mirror”, which is in post-production according to IMDB.com.

Collins is the daughter of Phil Collins, an actor and musician.

“I feel like I literally grew as Snow grew in the movie, that our experiences paralleled,” Lily Collins said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter upon being cast as Snow White in the movie “Mirror, Mirror.” “It wasn’t a movie shoot for me. It was a life experience.”

Collins started acting when she was two in the BBC series “Growing Pains.” Throughout high school she wrote for various teen magazines such as Elle Girl, Teen Vogue and Seventeen Magazine.

In 2009, she was a guest star on the CW’s “90210.” Following her role on “90210,” she worked alongside Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw in the “Blindside.” This year, Collins also acted in the “Priest” and “Abduction” with Taylor Lautner.

Wilson started working at Relativity Media in 2006 and is currently the Executive Vice President of Business Development.

Relativity Media is a studio that deals with investment and multiple aspects of entertainment including film, television, music and sports.