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Attention, Hollywood: The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada is on a legal rampage.
AFM has filed its third major lawsuit in the past two months. This time, the guild is targeting Paramount Pictures, alleging that the studio lied about the scoring of the upcoming film Same Kind of Different as Me, starring Renee Zellweger.
According to the complaint, filed on Monday in California federal court, Paramount has breached the terms of a collective bargaining agreement that requires that films produced in North America shall be scored there. AFM sued all of the big studios over this same subject in April. That lawsuit aimed to recover compensation for alleged sins of the past, while this latest complaint makes it clear that the AFM has its eye on the future.
“Only weeks after we filed suit against Paramount for offshoring jobs in other films, they did it again,” said AFM international president Ray Hair in a statement. “This total disrespect for musicians is shameful. It is nothing more than corporate greed.”
The guild, which is also suing over too much recycling of old soundtracks, is clearly paying close attention to film projects in development.
The new lawsuit cites a press release that Paramount issued on Oct. 28, 2014, stating that principal photography had begun in Mississippi.
In December, AFM says, it sent Paramount a letter. “The AFM looks forward to the scoring of Same Kind of Different as Me pursuant to that Agreement,” the letter nudged.
No reply came.
In April, AFM says, it sought confirmation that the film would be scored in the United States. At the end of the month, a Paramount rep allegedly contacted AFM’s general counsel to say the film had already been scored.
AFM asserts this wasn’t true.
“This representation caused the AFM to refrain from seeking injunctive relief, which it believed was now moot,” says the lawsuit.
AFM says only a portion of the film’s scoring was completed, and Paramount basically bought some time to complete the film score in Slovakia. The lawsuit suggests that had the guild known the truth, it would have gone to court to get a judge’s order to stop this.
Paramount is now being sued for allegedly breaching contract. AFM wants damages and contributions to its various health and pension funds. This lawsuit goes a step further than the one filed back in April. Represented by attorneys including Jeffrey Freund and Lewis Levy, the guild is also demanding further relief “to protect against future violations by Paramount in connection with theatrical motion pictures produced by Paramount in the United States or Canada.”
Paramount has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment.
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