At the same time as Livent Inc. is being taken over by new bosses, another Canadian producer has quietly bitten the dust.
Latimer-Follows, run by Jeffrey Latimer, 34, and Laurence Follows, 35, produced the successful Forever Plaid and the just closed I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.. They also mounted Stomp, Forever Tango and High Life, the Canadian hit play starring Tony award-winning actor Brent Carver.
But though their doors shut forever on April 26, this is also not the first time they've run into trouble. A few years ago they quietly restructured, renaming themselves from Follows-Latimer to Latimer-Follows. That time they were able to keep going but now the debts are too high. Even before their latest venture, Late Night Catechism, bombed, they owed more than they could pay. One Toronto public relations firm is suing them, U.S. producer Richard Ericson is still waiting for his payment for Catechism, and their own, former, senior marketing manager Carol Gibson, told The Globe and Mail; "...they weren't business-minded." Other employees also said that they were "absentee managers who allowed the firm's back office to fall into chaos."
But, according to The Globe, some put the blame on Gibson, "a former Livent employee, who, in the prolonged absence of Latimer and Follows, became the firm's dominant managerial force. Gibson clashed repeatedly with Carole Jolley, the titular head of marketing. Eventually Jolley was fired, a dismissal that led to an exodus of talent."
Nearly everyone agrees that they are "fun lads" who like to party, dress well and drive snazzy cars -- in other words, "playing at producing rather than being producers." In a surprise move this past Friday, Joan Mathers, who served as executive producer on several Latimer-Follows projects in return for investing, announced she was hiring Latimer as general manager of TaurPro Entertainment, a new player in the commercial arena who will be attempting to fill the gap left by Latimer-Follows with the Toronto premiere of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.
By Mira Friedlander