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Producers accuse Seagal of breach of contract

A suit for $14 million in damages says the actor caused filming delays.

June 10, 2005|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

The producers of two Steven Seagal films now in postproduction -- "Today You Die" and "Mercenary" -- have sued the international action star for breach of contract, claiming he cost them millions of dollars by consistently failing to arrive on the set on time, engaging in constant script rewrites, making unapproved departures from the set and allowing his entourage to interfere with the work of the film crews.

Seagal's attorney fired back, calling the allegations "fabricated and ridiculous" and said Seagal is still owed $830,000.

"My client did not want to do another movie with them," said Los Angeles attorney Martin Singer. "But he had a contract. So if they felt he was so bad they couldn't work with him, they could have said, 'Fine, let's not do it.' If he was late, how come they finished it on time and under budget?"

The legal tit-for-tat stems from a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Kill Master Productions Inc. and Nu Image Inc., alleging breach of contract by the actor. The suit seeks at least $14 million in damages from Seagal, Steamroller Productions and Luminocity Media Inc.

The suit contends Seagal caused production delays totaling 22 hours on "Today You Die." On the final day of the shoot, Dec. 22, the suit says, Seagal left the set without the producers' approval more than five hours early to attend a dinner he described as having "national security implications." He also repeatedly held nonproduction meetings during his workday, including meetings "to buy canines for his personal use," the suit added.

Singer claims the lawsuit was "filed to avoid paying Steven the money they knew he was owed."

"We'll take it to a jury and let a jury decide, in the event it is not resolved," said Charles M. Coate, attorney for the plaintiffs.

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