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Kylin Pictures used Kevin Costner’s name to sell a film at the Shanghai International Film Festival and then removed him from the project without paying him, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Costner, along with Treehouse Films, is suing Kylin for breach of contract and fraud.
In April, Treehouse and Beacon Films signed a deal to produce Shanghai Sojourners, which according to Kylin’s website is the story of a Chinese woman who falls in love with a Jewish man during World War II and tries to help him escape the Nazis. Kylin is credited as a producer on Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge and the 2017 Tom Cruise led American Made, formerly known as Mena — which has been at the center of multiple wrongful death lawsuits following a deadly plane crash during filming.
According to this lawsuit, Costner and Armyan Bernstein were set to receive a combined producing fee of $3 million. On top of that, Treehouse and Beacon were to receive a $1 million overhead fee and a share of profits.
During the Shanghai International Film Festival this summer, Kylin promoted the film and highlighted the involvement of Costner and Treehouse — resulting in investments in the film. According to the suit, Kylin had already decided to fire Costner and Treehouse but waited until August to tell them they were no longer wanted.
Costner also is suing for goods and services rendered. Under the contract, plaintiffs were supposed to oversee the rewriting of the script and Costner had rewritten the first 104 pages before Kylin told him to stop.
In addition to $3.85 million in damages, Treehouse and Costner want the court to declare that they should receive the credits promised and the agreed-upon profit share if the picture is produced. (Read the full complaint below.)
A Kylin Pictures spokesman sent The Hollywood Reporter a brief statement Tuesday night: “We are unable to discuss the matter at this time, although we will be happy to make a statement once the suit has concluded.”
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