Actress Whoopi Goldberg settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit against her Friday by agreeing to star in an independent movie called "T. Rex" about a policewoman who teams up with a dinosaur.
Details of the settlement, reached in the chambers of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen Lachs, were not disclosed. But according to a knowledgeable source, the two sides agreed to delay production of the movie until next fall--about a year after what the producer said was the agreed-upon starting date--and an adjustment was made in Goldberg's fee.
The T. Rex production company, headed by producer Richard Abramson, and Goldberg's representatives issued a one-sentence statement saying the parties had "settled their dispute and are going to make the movie."
The lawsuit, filed in March, had been scheduled to go to trial Sept. 27.
Abramson filed his lawsuit March 8, just two weeks before a jury ordered actress Kim Basinger to pay $8.9 million to Main Line Pictures for reneging on an oral agreement to appear in "Boxing Helena." Damages in that case--which stunned the entertainment industry--were later reduced to $7.4 million.
Possible fallout from the Basinger case has become a hot topic in Hollywood.
"There used to be a perception that if you were representing someone celebrated, it was hard to lose," said entertainment attorney Robert M. Dudnik of Santa Monica. The Basinger case "also demonstrated that a jury can be made to understand that there is something such as an oral contract and that it can be fully enforceable."
Abramson contended that Goldberg agreed in November to star in his film for $5 million plus a percentage of net profit. Start-up was originally planned for February, then delayed until fall at the actress' request. But Goldberg, he alleged, reneged in January on her agreement to appear.
Goldberg had acknowledged interest in the project but denied making an agreement to go forward with it. She filed a cross-complaint accusing the producer of defrauding her by falsely telling her he had $30 million in financing for the film.
"T. Rex," to be directed by Jonathan Betuel from his own screenplay, tells the story of a policewoman who teams up with a dinosaur to solve a conspiracy to blow up the world.