Martin Scorsese Sued by Production Company Over Film Adaptation

Martin Scorsese, according to the suit, has promised on several occasions to direct an adaptation of a Japanese novel but habitually postponed doing so

Cecchi Gori Pictures has sued Martin Scorsese and his Sikelia Productions company over a film the legendary director agreed to direct more than 20 years ago.

Reuters

According to the suit, filed Wednesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Scorsese began to discuss directing an adaption of Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel “Silence” in the 1980s and entered the first of many written agreements in 1990. At the time, it was to be the next feature Scorsese directed after “Kundun,” which was released in 1997.

Cecchi Gori Pictures, a production company led by Vittorio Cecchi Gori, incurred substantial development costs during the process and, according to the suit, those costs reached a sum of $750,000 by 2001.

Scorsese opted to direct a series of features rather than the film in question, including “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator.” The Oscar-winning director then allegedly agreed to direct the the film, based on the novel about missionaries sent to Japan in the 17th Century, after “The Aviator.” Scorsese's spokeswoman has not responded to a request from TheWrap for comment.

Also read: Martin Scorsese Books Two More For 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Following another negotiation over the film, Scorsese agreed to pay various fees after each feature he directed prior to the adaptation of “Silence,” according to the details of the suit filed Wednesday that were obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

Scorsese then directed “The Departed,” “Shutter Island” and “Hugo.”

According to the suit, Scorsese has not paid any of the pledged fees from “Hugo.” 

Cecchi Gori Pictures and Cecchi Gori USA have since requested payment, which Scorsese/Sikeilia has allegedly never responded to.

Now that Scorsese has agreed to direct “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Wolf, Rifkin, Shaprio, Schulman & Rabkin LLP have filed suit on behalf of the Cecchi Gori parties claiming two breaches of written contract, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. The final two charges stem from the Cecchi Gori Parties’ beliefs that Scorsese and Sikelia falsely represented their plans to make the film in question after "Hugo."

Cecchi Gori is seeking compensatory damages, as well as payment of their legal fees.