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Richard Gere is being sued for attempting to “steal” a project from his producing partners, just days after he sued them for allegedly trying to extort him.
Gere on Friday sued Random Acts Entertainment and its owners Scott and Anna Elias for breach of contract, claiming he was being extorted for $500,000 after a producing partnership fell apart over creative differences.
At the center of the dispute is a 2009 joint producer agreement for a film adaptation of the book Bones of the Master: A Journey to Secret Mongolia.
Gere claims he secured screenplay approval rights and because Anna Elias’ draft was “woefully inadequate” he couldn’t commit to starring in the project. He says he was subsequently threatened with an insulting and defamatory lawsuit, and on Friday he sued first.
The Eliases on Wednesday filed a cross-complaint alleging breaches of written agreement, the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and fiduciary duty.
“After they had worked on the project for eight years, Gere decided he wanted to do the project himself — despite the 50/50 joint venture agreement,” attorney Jeffrey Valle said in a Wednesday statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Instead of working out a buy-out, however, he filed a lawsuit against them, falsely claiming that they were trying to extort money from him — when they were simply trying to negotiate a fair buy-out of their rights in the project.”
According to the cross-complaint, Gere and the Eliases were to share creative control but the actor became “increasingly indecisive” and began cutting the producers out of the project. When the dispute “came to a head” last year, Gere offered to pay $50,000 to buy the Eliases out, which they say is significantly less than their out of pocket costs and the value of the project.
“This case is about Richard Gere’s attempt to steal a project that he does not own, and does not want to pay for,” writes Valle in the filing. “Gere’s conduct is the antithesis of the alleged Buddhist beliefs he publicly prattles on about.”
Read the full counter-complaint below.
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