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Jodie Foster Sues, Says PolyGram Broke Agreement

June 07, 1996|JAMES BATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a bitter feud between two business partners, Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster is suing European entertainment giant PolyGram for more than $10 million, alleging the company broke an agreement calling for her to star in a movie called "The Game."

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, is unusual because Foster and her Egg Pictures have been in business with PolyGram since 1992 and continue to be partners. Under that deal Foster produced "Nell," which was distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, and produced and directed "Home for the Holidays," also distributed by Fox.

In the lawsuit, Foster alleges that she reached an oral agreement in April with PolyGram and its Propaganda Films unit to star in "The Game," working for four weeks for $4.5 million against a 5% interest in the film's gross. Under the deal, Foster had a so-called pay-or-play clause that would require her to be paid if PolyGram eventually chose not to cast Foster. Foster further alleges that PolyGram pre-sold foreign distribution rights to the film using her name at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Foster alleged that because of the agreement, she "took herself off the market" by telling other companies that she couldn't consider film projects because she would be shooting "The Game."

Foster alleges that in May, PolyGram and Propaganda abruptly repudiated the agreement, claiming there was no agreement for her to be in the film. Foster further claims that PolyGram and Propaganda have been blaming the production problems on Foster. In the lawsuit, she says she is still willing to do the picture.

In a statement, Propaganda attributed the feud to "honest creative differences," adding that, "unfortunately, even friends and family sometimes have disagreements which cannot be resolved privately."

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