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Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler, producers of the original 1994 hit Dumb and Dumber, have filed counterclaims against the company that seeks to exclude them from a sequel that will once again star Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
In reaction to production company Red Granite’s attempt in a lawsuit to sideline them on Dumb and Dumber To, the two producers have harsh things to say about Red Granite’s principals — Riza Aziz (the son of Malaysian prime minster Tun Abdul Razak) and financier Joey McFarland — and openly wonder whether the move to get rid of them will turn around to bite Red Granite.
According to the counterclaim obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, “The latest episode of misconduct has put in doubt whether McFarland and Shahriz Bin Abdul [Riza] Aziz will honor their commitments to any of the key talent working on the Sequel, and no one in Hollywood will trust McFarland and Shahriz Bin Abdul Aziz enough to take employment on their projects in the future because they will risk not getting their full compensation.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Krevoy and Stabler question whether Aziz and McFarland are really savvy enough to pull off a sequel to a film that grossed nearly $250 million worldwide.
“Red Granite will not succeed with money alone because McFarland’s and Shahriz Bin Abdul Aziz’s experience producing motion pictures during their short tenure in the industry consists of cavorting at nightclubs with Paris Hilton and making dinner reservations at posh nightclubs in New York and Los Angeles,” say the latest legal papers.
The original Dumb and Dumber was distributed by New Line and Warner Bros. To make a sequel happen, Red Granite bought the rights and recently set the project up at Universal Pictures. In the counterclaims, Krevoy and Stabler say they were involved in CAA’s efforts to aid Red Granite’s purchase of the property.
But whatever assistance they gave, Red Granite doesn’t think the two producers deserve to work on or be compensated for Dumb and Dumber To, which sources say will be financed at close to $40 million.
Red Granite’s lawsuit says that “no agreement of any kind exists between Red Granite, on the one hand, and either Krevoy or Stabler, on the other hand, in connection with ‘Dumb and Dumber To,’ nor has Krevoy or Stabìer furnished any pre-production, producing or any other services to Red Granite in connection with ‘Dumb and Dumber To.'”
Krevoy and Stabler don’t think that’s accurate, pointing to their “substantial contribution” to the original film and their “initial development” of the sequel.
Even if there’s doubt as to their active hand in making a follow-up to the Farrelly Brothers comedy, Krevoy and Stabler point to the contract they signed for the first film.
That deal entitled them to $600,000 in producer fees, a hard floor of 15 percent of net profits and a 25 percent royalty on video revenues. Just as important, the deal gave them a “right of first negotiation for sequels and remakes on terms at least as favorable as their terms for producing the Original,” they say.
This, they add, is a standard clause in the entertainment industry which allows them to get paid “even if the studio decides to hire another producer for the sequel, so long as the producer is willing and able to produce the sequel.”
Krevoy and Stabler say they are willing and able, and that even though New Line has no hand in the sequel, the original studio is said to be “100% supportive” of their position and once prepared a proposed budget that included their fees for a sequel.
Red Granite doesn’t believe it owes anything to the two producers, but Krevoy and Stabler say the company can’t shake up the contractual status quo simply because the situation isn’t favorable. The two counter-claimants say that Red Granite tried doing the same thing to producer Alexandra Milchan on Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, a dispute that eventually resulted in Milchan being confirmed as an executive producer. The “pattern” of alleged misconduct on Red Granite’s part is said to show that McFarland and Aziz “lack the experience necessary to successfully develop motion pictures themselves.”
Red Granite’s credits include Friends with Kids as well as upcoming projects including Horns, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale, The Brigands of Rattleborge and The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.
The latest counterclaim against Red Granite alleges interference with contractual relations, breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Represented by Bryan Freedman, Steven Formaker and Steven Stiglitz at Freedman & Taitelman, the two producers are demanding monetary damages for depriving them of a role on Dumb and Dumber To, for impoverishing their lost compensation, and for reducing their ability to garner awards and recognition on the sequel.
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