9:40am PT by Eriq Gardner
Jake Gyllenhaal Film Sued to Stop Production; Salaries Revealed
Randall Emmett and George Furla's Emmett/Furla Oasis Films is upset at being cut out of The Man Who Made It Snow, to star Jake Gyllenhaal. The production company has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the film's screenwriter that seeks an injunction against any distribution of the movie.
The Man Who Made It Snow comes from a script by Brett Tabor, based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Max Mermelstein. Set to be directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), the film tells the story of Mermelstein, an American who cracked the inner circle of the Colombian drug cartels in the 1980s and helped build Pablo Escobar's empire.
According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Emmett and Tabor have been in close contact for the last few years trying to make the film. The production was put on hold due to other competing films and TV programs in the marketplace.
"However, very recently, on September 30, 2014, Plaintiff and Defendant Tabor agreed that Plaintiff would produce and finance the Picture as evidenced by an option agreement contained in an email correspondence from Defendant Tabor to Mr. Emmett," states the lawsuit.
The email, attached to the complaint, conditions the film option on making a successful pay-or-play offer to Gyllenhaal for the lead role of Mermelstein. According to further court documents, Gyllenhaal was offered $6 million for the picture while Fuqua was to get a producer/director fee of $5 million. Emmett had planned to contribute $31 million to the picture's budget and had also agreed to let Tabor executive produce.
"However, unbeknownst to Plaintiff, Defendant Tabor, had, among other things, secretly and surreptitiously utilized Plaintiff's efforts and financing proposal/commitment, and proceeded to negotiate an agreement with IM Global for the financing and distribution of the Picture."
IM Global has launched the film at this week's American Film Market and has put out word that some presales with foreign distributors have been closed.
Emmett claims that Tabor and his associates have interfered with negotiations with Gyllenhaal's agent by claiming that Emmett has no rights to The Man Who Made It Snow. Tabor is said to have been warned not to execute any agreements that transfer rights, but Tabor's reps allegedly never responded.
The plaintiff is alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of implied-in-fact contract. Emmett/Furla demands a declaration that it has the exclusive right to produce and finance the picture, and wants Tabor and his associates enjoined from distributing, producing, financing, promoting, marketing or otherwise exploiting the film.
We've reached out to Tabor and IM Global for comment.