Martin Scorsese has responded to a lawsuit filed by a production company that claims to have invested $750,000 in a movie the Oscar-winning director allegedly promised to make in 1990.
"It is shocking to us that the lawyers for Cecchi Gori Pictures would file a suit pursuing such absurd claims considering the amicable working relationship existing between Martin Scorsese and the principals of Cecchi Gori Pictures," says a statement from representatives of Scorsese.
According to Ceechi Gori's lawsuit, the company claims that Scorsese agreed more than 20 years ago to direct Silence, a project the production company had spent $750,000 developing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Scorsese was supposed to start the film, based on the novel by Japanese author Shusaku Endo, after finishing the 1997 movie Kundun. The lawsuit claims that Scorsese signed deals to postpone work on Silence so he could direct The Departed, Shutter Island and Hugo, but never paid Ceechi Gori the agreed-upon delay fees, said to reach as much as $1.5 million per film, plus up to 20 percent of Scorsese's backend compensation.
Now, Ceechi Gori Pictures claims, Scorsese has decided to direct Wolf of Wall Street (a film staring Leonardo Dicaprio and Jonah Hill) instead of Silence. "The Cecchi Gori Parties cannot allow their rights to be ignored or compromised by further delay on the part of Scorsese and Sikelia," his production company, the complaint reads.
According to Scorsese's representatives, "The claims asserted are completely contradicted by, inconsistent with and contrary to the express terms of an agreement entered into by the parties last year."
The statement, released today, also goes on to say that filing a lawsuit just before Scorsese was to start filming another picture "has all the earmarks of a media stunt."