Mel Gibson's 'Madman' Lawsuit Knocked as Harmless Griping

Voltage Pictures files papers aimed at defeating the actor-producer's claims.
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Mel Gibson

Where's the harm in depriving Mel Gibson of his asserted right to control The Professor and the Madman, his "labor of love" film about the origins of the Oxford English Dictionary?

That's essentially the question posed in a demurrer motion filed by Voltage Pictures in response to a lawsuit filed by Gibson's Icon Productions.

Gibson is alleging that his deal required his sign-off on any material changes to the screenplay, a change of director from Farhad Safinia, filming locations and so forth. His complaint also contends that he'd be allowed to see the final production budget and schedule, and if necessary, select a final cut of the film.

"Although Plaintiffs have alleged that 'Defendants' material breaches' have caused Plaintiffs to have 'been damaged," the important question is what Plaintiffs have lost by alleged failure to shoot in Oxford, England, or the alleged failure to receive a final budget for approval," states a motion that tests the sufficiency of facts supporting claims. "The answer is nothing."

Voltage says Icon got its movie, and that Safinia did direct the picture.

There may be questions related to whether Safinia had a chance to prepare a final cut, or whether shooting really had to take place in Oxford (Voltage disputes this alleged requirement in a footnote), but Voltage adds "Plaintiffs received the benefit of the bargain" and that Icon is substituting any demonstration of harm for an "amorphous request for contract damages."

Voltage also knocks the fraud charge as lacking particularity.

Voltage is represented by attorney Jeremiah Reynolds while Icon, seeking both monetary damages and a declaration that it can exercise its right to terminate the film deal, is being handled by Quinn Emanuel attorneys led by Jeffery McFarland.

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