Mel Gibson sues production house for sabotaging dream project

Aug 01, 2017, 13:44 IST | PTI

Actor Mel Gibson has sued Voltage Pictures alleging that the company failed to honour their deal of producing his long gestating 'The Professor and the Madman'

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson

Actor Mel Gibson has sued Voltage Pictures alleging that the company failed to honour their deal of producing his long gestating "The Professor and the Madman".

Gibson and his producing partner Bruce Davey have apparently been working on the project for nearly two decades.

In the film, which is based on the Simon Winchester book about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, Gibson was set to play the professor, James Murray, who oversaw the creation of the dictionary, while Sean Penn was supposed to portray the madman William Chester Minor.

Gibson and Davey, through their company Icon Productions, signed a co-production deal with Voltage in 2015 to make the film, which was scheduled to release this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In his lawsuit, Gibson alleged that Voltage failed to provide a final budget for the film, never secured a completion bond and refused to allow the shoot of "critical" scenes in Oxford.

"The Agreements require that things such as material changes to the screenplay, change of director from Mr Safinia to someone else, the final production budget and schedule, and selection of filming locations be agreed to by Icon and Mr Gibson," wrote attorney Jeffery McFarland in the complaint.

"Further, as extra insurance that his vision of the film was protected, Mr Gibson has the right, if necessary, to select the final cut of the film that is released between a cut prepared by Mr Safinia and a cut prepared by Voltage."

Gibson also claimed that Voltage screened an unapproved cut of the film to some distributors at Cannes film festival.

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