11:25am PT by Matthew Belloni
Legal Brawl Erupts Over Tom Cruise Thriller 'One Shot' (Exclusive)
Two producers of the upcoming Tom Cruise crime thriller One Shot were sued today by another producer who claims he worked for years on the project but was denied credit and his "rightful share of the compensation" the duo stand to earn from the potential franchise.
Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn and their Mutual Film Co. are named as defendants in a suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Kevin Messick, who alleges he entered into a joint venture agreement to develop the Lee Child novel into a movie with Granger and Levinsohn at Paramount. Messick, an executive at Gary Sanchez Productions, now says he was strung along and told he'd be paid even though the duo never intended to do so.
The complaint says Messick, Granger and Levinsohn agreed in 2005 to jointly develop One Shot into a feature. Later that year, Paramount came on board, after which Messick says he spent five years developing the project with Granger, Levinsohn and their company. Then, "beginning in July 2010, Granger and Levinsohn began excluding Messick from meetings with the screenwriter and the studio and withheld certain drafts of the screenplay for the picture," the complaint alleges.
Messick says he continued to work on the film until June 29, 2011, when he says he sent an e-mail to Granger stating, "I'm getting the message loud and clear that you have no intention of involving me with [the film]. Am I wrong?"
Then in July 2011, Cruise was announced as the star of One Shot, which finally secured a green light from Paramount. Rosamund Pike soon was announced as the female lead of the film, which is set for release in 2013.
On Aug. 13, 2011, Messick alleges Granger responded to him in an e-mail: "I will work with you to get you credit on the film. Whatever accommodation of fee we discussed was always predicated on if Gary and I received our deal on the film and I made that clear. We are not receiving our deal on the film."
Messick claims that e-mail was false because his agreement with the Mutual Film partners was to share credit and upfront compensation equally and that Messick's backend deal would be negotiated in good faith.
Messick now wants his upfront fee, as well as a share of the backend and the right to participate in any sequels, which would seem likely if One Shot is a hit because the Child book is one of a series.
Reached at his office, Levinsohn declined comment. Granger could not be reached for comment.
The suit, filed by Bryan Freedman and Steven Stiglitz of L.A.'s Freedman & Taitelman firm, alleges causes of action for breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment.