LOS ANGELES (CN) – “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau filed a lawsuit against his former manager Friday, claiming she duped him into signing “sham” agreements for a share of his earnings on the HBO show.
Coster-Waldau claims Jill Littman, through her management company Impression Entertainment, had him sign documents he believed would only be used to support an application for a temporary-worker visa with the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
But after he fired Littman in 2015, she said the Danish actor owed her ongoing commissions from his work on the series and that the contract contained a provision to arbitrate any dispute.
The 47-year-old has starred in “Game of Thrones” as Jaime Lannister since the series debuted in 2010. The show is currently in its seventh season.
Coster-Waldau says Littman had him sign two “sham” agreements for visa applications in 2011 and again in 2014 so that he could apply for work in the United States without having to file immigration papers each time.
The actor says Littman led him to believe that documents would not affect an oral agreement between them entitling Littman to 10 percent in commissions but allowing Coster-Waldau to fire her at any time. Coster-Waldau says he did not agree to extend commissions past the date of the termination of the agreement.
“They were documents intended by Coster-Waldau – and, Waldau was led to believe, Littman – to have precisely zero legal impact on the terms of their ongoing relationship, which was to remain subject to the terms of the oral management agreement,” the actor says in his complaint.
After he fired Littman, the actor says Impression claimed it was entitled to a cut of his earnings for his work on all seasons of “Game of Thrones,” and on all projects for three years after the signing of the 2014 documents.
“Coster-Waldau denied, and continues to deny, any obligation to pay such commissions,” the 24-page lawsuit states.
Littman’s attorney Howard King said that on Friday morning, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Amy Hogue denied Coster-Waldau request to restrain arbitration proceedings.
“Nikolaj was managed by Impression for eight years and signed two written contracts specifically obligating him to pay a commission for, among other things, ‘Game of Thrones,’” King wrote in an email. “He even reaffirmed his commitment to pay commissions in the email terminating the relationship.”
In an opposition filed on Friday, Littman attached a September 2015 email from Coster-Waldau in which he says he was parting ways with the manager to concentrate on his directing and producing career. The email appears to acknowledge that he will continue to pay her commissions on his earnings for “Game of Thrones.”
“I am nothing but grateful for our many years working together and the success we shared,” the email states. “And the reason I have decided to leave Impression is not to go somewhere else but to basically take control myself. ‘Game of Thrones’ is coming to an end now. We have shared the financial rewards of the show and will till it ends after season 7.”
Coster-Waldau writes that he is sitting on a flight to Munich from Los Angeles and calls the manager a “friend.”
“So, it has everything to do with me and very little to do with your work which has been absolutely stellar. Looking at what we have achieved these past 10 years surpassed all my hopes,” the email states. “Again Jill. It’s obviously a weird feeling to send this news in an email but I wanted to be able to be clear and not silly and emotional because it’s a difficult decision. You are a friend.”
The actor’s complaint is for declaratory relief, fraud in the execution/inception, breach of fiduciary duties, and reformation of contract. He seeks damages and costs, and is represented by entertainment attorney Michael Plonsker of Plonsker Law.