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Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fallout Over Firing From Harrison Ford Film

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Steven Golin, producer of "Being John Malkovich," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and other films, claims in court that Lakeshore Entertainment wrongly fired him from an upcoming Harrison Ford movie, "Adaline."

Golin claims in Superior Court that he has been developing "Adaline" since 2003. The movie, which was scheduled to go into production this week in Vancouver, B.C., is to stars Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn and Blake Lively.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie tells the story of a woman who gains immortality after an accident and then finds true love.

But there seems to have been little love lost behind the scenes.

"There is no polite way to put it: Lakeshore tried to pull a fast one to avoid honoring its obligations to ... Golin," the producer says in the 20-page lawsuit. Golin's loanout company, Overt Operations, also is a plaintiff.

Golin says in the lawsuit that he was commissioned to develop the screenplay in 2003. Six years later, he says, he partnered with SKE Productions and to memorialize his involvement, they executed a "Producer Loanout Agreement."

In the film industry, a loanout corporation is a company set up by a producer, actor or other individual to provide them with corporate legal protection and tax advantages. In a typical case, the person is then considered an employee of the corporation which "loans" his services to the production company.

In 2010, SKE assigned its rights to Lakeshore, Golin says in the complaint.

At the time this was done, it was understood that "Golin was, in Hollywood parlance, permanently 'attached' to the film in the manner standard for persons of his experience, reputation, and stature in the motion picture industry," the complaint states. "That is, absent serious misconduct, he was permanently attached during development, production, and beyond, with an inalienable right to his fixed and contingent compensation, and credit for himself, his colleagues, and his companies."

Golin claims that this understanding was one of key underpinnings of the producer loanout agreement, and the reason why, when it was signed, he waived his right to be reimbursed for development costs by SKE.

Golin says he continued to work on the project after Lakeshore got involved, and persuaded Lee Krieger, a young director heralded by the Sundance Film Festival, to shoot it.

Despite his assistance, Golin says, he was shocked to find an email from Lakeshore's head of business affairs in his inbox on October 16, 2013 titled, "Steve Golin - Termination."

"The email told Golin he was fired from 'Adaline' and would get "'no $$, no credit, no back-end, etc.,'" according to the complaint.

The complaint does not suggest any reason why Golin and Lakeshore had a falling out. Golin claims he never defaulted on any of his obligations under the loanout agreement.

He describes Lakeshore's email as a breach of his contract, which, he says, does not give Lakeshore an "unfettered and indiscriminate right" to fire him. If it did, it would render several other provisions of the loanout agreement "superfluous," he says in the complaint.

Golin claims that when he was fired, he was owed as much as $1 million in fixed compensation and expected to receive 20 percent to 30 percent in back-end participation.

He seeks damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, unjust enrichment, breach of implied in law quasi contract and quantum meruit.

He is represented by Alan Rader of Los Angeles and Bruce Isaacs, of Wyman & Isaacs in Beverly Hills.

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