Martin Scorsese and his production company, Sikelia Productions, are being sued for allegedly reneging on a $1 million deal to produce a World War II movie.
UK-based production company Op-Fortitude, set up to make the film, claims Scorsese accepted an initial payment of $500,000 to personally assemble an all-star cast for Operation: Fortitude and refused to return the money after not working for over a year. The film is written and produced by Simon Afram.
“Mr. Scorsese has done nothing to advance the production of the film and has been completely unresponsive to Op-Fortitude’s repeated attempts to reach him and secure fulfillment of his obligations,” the complaint filed Monday reads. at the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Op-Fortitude and LBI Entertainment, representing Scorsese and Sikelia, signed a deal in 2021 for the director to handle casting, production and post-production. The production company was assured that a meeting with Scorsese would be arranged and that he would “immediately personally contact potential A-list directors and cast members,” according to the suit. It was reportedly understood that the deal with Sikelia was for Scorsese to be directly involved in the film, not his managers, as LBI and Op-Fortitude had already made a separate deal in 2020 for other services related to the film.
The lawsuit alleges that LBI Op-Fortitude insisted that Scorsese would eventually work on the film and urged the company not to end the deal. After months of no communication or indication that Scorsese intended to produce the film, a representative for Op-Fortitude met with LBI executive Charles Pacheco, who assured him that the deal could be canceled and that the $500,000 upfront payment would be refunded if any no movement was on the film. project by the end of the year, the complaint alleges.
But when the deal was formally terminated in March, Scorsese and Sikelia reportedly claimed Op-Fortitude had no right to cancel the contract or receive a deposit refund.
“Although more than fifteen months have passed since the signing of the agreement, Mr. Scorsese has not performed any work that falls within any of the three categories of services contemplated in the agreement – casting, production and post-production,” John writes. Fowler, an attorney for Op-Fortitude, in the suit. “He also didn’t do any other kind of work on the project.”
Op-Fortitude claims, among other things, breach of contract and claims damages. It says it failed to gather a cast and lost funding because Scorsese reportedly turned his back on the deal to produce the film, which explores a “strategic mission critical to the conduct of World War II,” the complaint said.
Scorsese, LBI and Sikelia Productions, who produced The Wolf of Wall Street, Killers of the flower moon And Boardwalk Empire, did not immediately return requests for comment. Fowler says his client “had no choice” but to sue the director “given the lack of involvement”.