Producers on Tom Cruise film sued for breach of contract

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 06, 2012 12:38 AM
Producers on Tom Cruise film sued for breach of contract

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES, Feb 5 (TheWrap.com) - Two producers of Tom Cruise's upcoming thriller "One Shot" were slapped by a breach of contract suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday by a former producer on the project.

Kevin Messick, a producer on "Batman Forever" and "The Other Guys," alleges that Don Granger and Gary Levinsohn of Mutual Film Company edged him out of the film adaptation of Lee Child's best-selling novel.

Messick is asking for unspecified damages, his producer's fees and the rights to participate in any upcoming sequels. The franchise rights are important because Jack Reacher, the army-major-turned drifter that Cruise will play, is featured in multiple Child novels.

"If defendants had honored the Joint Venture Agreement, Messick is informed and believes and therein alleges that Paramount Pictures would have hired Messick to be a producer of the Picture as well as any sequels, remakes, or derivative works based on the picture," the suit reads.

Levinsohn and Granger declined to comment.

Messick said that he first joined the project in 2005 and helped to develop the picture, renew Paramount's options for the film rights, and search for a screenwriter.

However, he claims that beginning in July 2010, Granger and Levinsohn began excluding him from meetings with the production team, but continued to assure him that he would remain involved in the project.

Messick claims that he eventually grew so frustrated at being shunted aside that he wrote an email to Granger in June 2011, stating, "I'm getting the message loud and clear that you have no intention of involving me with (the Picture) am I wrong?"

The next month, the studio announced that Cruise would star in the green-lit picture. Following that announcement, Granger claimed that he would work to get Messick credit, but said that he and his partner were not getting "our deal" on the film. He claimed that their failure to secure that deal nullified their oral agreement with Messick, according to the suit.

Among other causes of action, the suit alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.

(Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.)