Martin Scorsese is being sued in a complaint worth up to $1.5 million after he allegedly stalled on a movie he agreed to make 22 years ago.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Cecchi Gori Pictures, the production company headed by Vittorio Cecchi Gori, claimed it entered into several agreements with Scorsese – the director of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas – and his Sikelia Productions for him to direct Silence in 1990.
Silence is based on a Japanese novel by Shusaku Endo about missionaries who are sent to Japan in 1683 to investigate reports of Christians being tortured by the country’s emperor.
Cecchi Gori claims it invested $750,000 to develop the property, and alleges Martin should now pay them $1.5 million after failing to make the movie.
They claim he agreed in 2004 to make Silence his next film but has put off the project again to do The Wolf of Wall Street, TMZ reports.
According to the lawsuit obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Cecchi say Scorsese paid them to put Silence on the back burner to direct The Departed, Shutter Island and Hugo, but the studio claim he still owes them the value of his producer title on Hugo as well as 20 per cent of the profits from the 2011 3D adventure drama.
As part of those deals, Scorsese is said to have agreed to pay “substantial compensation and other valuable benefits, for the right to direct these three other films prior to Silence,” according to the complaint. Those fees are said to be $1 million – $1.5 million per film plus up to 20 percent of Scorsese’s backend compensation.
The documents state that Cecchi is suing for unpaid fees on Hugo and also looking for money from movies Martin makes before Silence.
“The Checchi Gori Parties cannot allow their rights to be ignored or compromised by further delay on the part of Scorsese and Sikelia,” the complaint alleges.
The director is yet to comment on the allegations.