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Movie Lawsuits Abound

What's that sound you're hearing in Hollywood these days? The sound of lawyer's briefcases snapping shut. Two very high-profile cases are making news these days--one about a film production halted, and the other about a film already in the proverbial can.

First, there's the ongoing saga of "Sahara," the movie that stems from the Clive Cussler novel of the same name; that movie, released in 2006, opened to poor reviews and equally poor box office. Now author Cussler, who began making noise even while production was underway about filmmakers ignoring or aborting his intentions, has sued Crusader Entertainment under the pretense that he was not given the creative control over the project stipulated in his contract. Crusader has countersued, claiming the Cussler is not the writer he posited himself as, and the namecalling, with millions at stake, has begun.

Most recently, director Breck Eisner took the stand--claiming that he did his best to work the material into a franchise such as that of Indiana Jones. The Matthew McConaughey/Penelope Cruz vehicle which features Cussler's beloved Dirk Pitt character has, according to bookmakers, lost Crusader more than $80 million.

Meanwhile, production on the long-troubled "Pope Joan" has ground to a halt, prompting Constantin Film to sue John Goodman for allegedly breaching a verbal agreement to star in the picture. They seek over $3 million in damages. That film is based the book by Donna Cross, which deals with the legend of a woman who supposedly disguised herself as a man and rose in the ranks of the Catholic Church; most scholars these days consider the story as one that has no merit, but in these "DaVinci Code" days, it's one filmmakers undoubtedly see as potentially engaging and therefore profitable.

For the lawyers, anyway.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, and, well, The Hollywood Reporter.

Posted by on April 13, 2007 11:28 AM
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