'True Detective' Producer Claims He Was Unfairly Axed From Harrison Ford Movie 'Adaline'

Anonymous Content CEO Steve Golin says Lakeshore Entertainment didn't have an unfettered and indiscriminate right to remove him from the forthcoming film.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI
Steve Golin

Steve Golin is coming off massive success as executive producer of HBO's True Detective, but in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, he details a more unfortunate career development.

Golin founded Anonymous Content LLP, a big management company with a healthy roster of famous directors, and has been a producer on such films as Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Nurse Betty and The Fifth Estate.

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In his lawsuit, he says he had been developing a film project titled Adaline, currently set to star Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn and Blake Lively, until he was terminated by Lakeshore Entertainment. Golin and his loan-out company Overt Operations allege that Lakeshore had no right to get rid of him.

According to the complaint, Overt commissioned the film's screenplay in 2003.

In 2009, Golin says he partnered with SKE Productions on Adaline, and to memorialize Golin's involvement, a "Producer Loanout Agreement" was executed.

The following year, SKE assigned its rights to Lakeshore. The lawsuit says that at the time of the assignment, it was "understood and accepted that Golin was attached to the Adaline project and could only be removed for serious misconduct."

Golin says thereafter, he provided services to the project and convinced Lee Toland Krieger to direct the film. But last year, as the film was close to fruition, he was fired. Lakeshore's head of business affairs allegedly sent Golin an email titled "Steve Golin -- Termination," which stated Golin would get "no $$, no credit, no back-end, etc."

The lawsuit doesn't detail why Lakeshore wanted to get rid of Golin. The omission might be explored as the lawsuit develops. Lakeshore didn't respond to a request for comment.

Maybe more curious and significant is Section 7 of the Loanout Agreement.

According to Golin, Lakeshore relied upon this part of the contract to terminate him. The plaintiff denies that Section 7 can be interpreted to give SKE/Lakeshore an "unfettered and indiscriminate right" of termination. But if interpreted otherwise, he says it was "directly contrary to the expressed intent of the original parties and the result of a mutual mistake," and further, "SKE and Overt did not know that the Agreement contained section 7 until Lakeshore wrongfully relied on it to terminate Golin."

Was it failure to read the contract? Time will tell. Among other things, Golin demands a reformation of the contract to reflect the alleged intent of the parties who first made the deal.

Golin also claims that Lakeshore has committed a material and anticipatory breach of the contract. He was due to make up to $1 million in fixed compensation and somewhere between 20 to 30 percent in back-end participation on the film. Golin's other causes of actions are breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, breach of implied-in-law quasi contract and quantum meruit.

Adaline is expected to be released next year and centers on a young woman who gains immortality after an accident and then finds true love.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner