One Documentary too Many, Producer Says

LOS ANGLES (CN) – After agreeing to appear in a documentary about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the origins of his song “Looking For Freedom,” David Hasselhoff breached contract by performing in another documentary on the same subject, a production company claims in court.
     Foreign Language Center dba Oneworld Language Solutions and Owls Media sued Hasselhoff, Hasselhoff Touring, and his manager Eric Gardner on Wednesday in Superior Court. The producer alleges breach of contract, breach of faith dealing, intentional misrepresentation, fraud, and six other counts.
     According to the lawsuit, the documentary company’s co-owner Mark Hayes last year entered into an agreement with Hasselhoff through Gardner for the actor-musician to appear in a documentary about the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
     “The format, proposed by plaintiff to defendants Gardner and defendant Hasselhoff in April and May of 2013, focused on defendant Hasselhoff’s involvement in and with the wall events along with the impact of his song, ‘Looking For Freedom,’ which became the wall event anthem,” the complaint states.
     The filmmakers planned to include Hasselhoff’s narration and interviews, as well as examining the origins of “Looking For Freedom,” the producer says. The movie was provisionally titled “Mr. Hasselhoff, Tear Down the Wall.”
     Owls Media agreed to pay Hasselhoff a $25,000 advance to appear in the film plus 15 percent of the producer’s net profits, according to the complaint.
     But Gardner then arranged for Hasselhoff to appear in a “superseding documentary almost identical in theme, scope and focus,” called “Hasselhoff vs. the Berlin Wall,” with subsidiaries of the National Geographic Society and Endemol, the producer claims.
     “The Society/Endemol documentary program … plaintiff be damned … has been produced … and is scheduled to air in the fall on the Society’s worldwide television channels, crushing plaintiffs’ documentary and its economic well-being,” the 35-page complaint states.
     Owls Media claims that Hasselhoff has wrecked its chance of recouping the money it invested, or making any money on the film.
     National Geographic Channels International, National Geographic Ventures, Fox Entertainment Group, and Darlow Smithson Productions are also named as defendants.
     The plaintiffs seek damages, costs and an injunction against “Hasselhoff vs. the Berlin Wall.” They are represented by Jeffrey Konvitz.

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