LOS ANGELES (CN) – Rod Lurie claims Touchstone used the November 2007 Writer’s Guild strike to duck its obligation to pay him $1 million – an obligation it assumed by offering him $3 million to give up his position as writer, director and executive producer of “Commander-In-Chief.”
Lurie, who wrote and directed the 2000 film “The Contender,” says his contract with Touchstone guaranteed him a job as the “full-time, exclusive in-person executive producer” for the first two years of “Commander-In-Chief.”
Lurie says the contract specified that beginning in June 2004, he was “locked, pay or play for its first two production years.”
But in October 2005, Touchstone decided to replace Lurie with another executive producer. To satisfy the “pay or play” contract, it agreed to extend the contract for another two years, through June 2008.
During the extension, Lurie says he had no responsibilities to “Commander-In-Chief,” except occasional consultation duties. Even so, he says, he went beyond his contracted obligations, writing three new scripts, and producing and directing a pilot for Touchstone. Touchstone left his work untouched. In exchange for Lurie’s forfeiture, he says, Touchstone promised to pay him $3 million over the course of the 2-year extension.
Henry Gradstein represents Lurie’s financer, Chariot Productions, in Superior Court.