Nick Cassavetes is suing New Line Cinema over a claim that he was promised a job directing the film "Peaceable Kingdom" only to be axed from the movie after handing over a full rewrite of the script for which he was not paid.
Cassavetes, who has directed the classic chick flick "The Notebook" and this summer's tear jerker "My Sister's Keeper" for New Line, says the studio agreed to pay him $275,000 (plus an additional $25,000 for office space) in March to oversee script development.
He also alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court that he was promised "several million dollars" to direct the film, a conservationist story about a woman trying to stop elephant extinction in Kenya.
Cassavetes claims that he and New Line head Toby Emmerich both agreed the project needed a full "page one" rewrite. Because he was guaranteed the directing job, Cassavetes agreed to do the rewrite at no extra charge. But when he handed in the new script, Emmerich said he was off of the movie.
"New Line made promises to (Cassavetes) that he would direct the film in order to obtain his services as a writer without having to enter into a separate writer's agreement and pay him his usual fee for a complete page one rewrite," the lawsuit says.
Cassavetes, who says he usually commands a writing fee of $750,000, is suing for $1,050,000. That's $300,000 he was allegedly supposed to get from New Line, plus $750,000 for what he says he should have gotten for the rewrite.
He's also asking for millions in unspecified additional damages for his directing fee as well as jobs he could have been working on during the period he was a scribe for "Kingdom."
Neither attorneys for Cassavetes or New Line responded to a request for comment.