Julie Taymor Countersued Over ‘Spider-Man’ Musical Claim

Musical succeeded despite, not because of, former director, suit says

The legal saga over "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" is developing into quite the tangled web.

Ousted "Spider-Man" director Julie Taymor is being countersued by the producers of the problem-plagued production, after Taymor filed suit late last year, seeking full payment for her work on the musical.

Read the full counterclaim here.

In the counterclaim — filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York — the musical's producers claim that Taymor refused "to fulfill her contractual obligations, declaring that she could not and would not do the jobs that she was contracted to do, thereby causing significant unnecessary expense, delay and other harm to the Counterclaim Plaintiffs."

Also read: Julie Taymor Sues "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" Producers

The countersuit claims that Taymor refused to develop a family-friendly stage version of the Spider-Man saga and instead "insisted on developing a dark, disjointed and hallucinogenic musical involving suicide, sex and death."

The countersuit goes on to allege that, though "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" was intended to be a commercial endeavor, Taymor stubbornly disregarded concerns about ticket sales or public appeal.

Also read: Julie Taymor Calls "Spider-Man" Producers' Reliance on Focus Groups "Scary"

"Rather, Taymor's attitude was summed up by her statement that, 'I don't give a f— about audience reaction!" the suit reads.

The producers claim that Taymor's actions "caused numerous delays and cost overruns," forcing them to engage "in superhuman efforts to save the musical, including raising tens of millions of dollars — much of it their own — to fund the ever-increasing costs of the production."

And when it became clear that the musical "continued to have serious problems" — including a confusing storyline and the lack of an ending — Taymor refused to collaborate with the producers and listen to proposed changes, the claim charges.

"Instead, she stormed out of meetings if any changes were even hinted at and stopped talking to any member of the production who suggested that changes should be made."

Also read: Julie Taymor to "Spider-Man" Producers: Pay Up!

The producers argue that the musical succeeded despite Taymor, not because of her, and that their efforts are the only reason that there are profits for Taymor to sue for.

"[I]ronically, it is because the musical is a success and did not close in March 2011 that Taymor is now belatedly seeking to compel payment," the suit says.

Alleging that Taymor breached her contractual duty as a collaborator on the musical and the co-author of the musical's book, the producers are seeking unspecified damages, plus costs and attorney's fees. They're also asking that for a permanent injunction forcing Taymor to cancel her copyright claim on the original book for the series.

Taymor was forced to leave the production in March 2011, after a host of injuries and other problems forced the musical's production back.

The producers hired a new co-writer, comic-book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, to help Glen Berger write a second version of the musical's book. Taymor had filed for partial copyright ownership of the first, abandoned book, but in their suit the producers assert that she has no valid claim of co-ownership, in part because much of the material in her treatment drew largely from preexisting material from the "Spider-Man" comic books and movies.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.