A production company co-founded by Mel Gibson reached a settlement with a group of entities and a CEO who the actor-director alleged interfered with his ability to approve the final cut of the as-yet unreleased film, “The Professor and the Madman,” his attorney told a judge Tuesday.
Lawyer Shahin Rezvani informed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruth Kwan that the case was resolved, but no terms were divulged.
The suit was filed in July 2017 on behalf of Icon Productions, which Gibson and producing partner Bruce Davey founded in August 1989. The named defendants were Voltage Productions LLC, Voltage Pictures LLC, Christchurch Productions DAC and Nicolas Chartier, CEO of Voltage and a stakeholder in Christchurch.
The suit alleged breach of contract, fraud and accused the defendants of putting their interests ahead of those of Icon. Kwan later dismissed Voltage Pictures from the case, but ruled that the other companies and Chartier would remain defendants.
In the suit, “The Professor and the Madman” — scheduled to be released this May — was described as “a labor of love for … Gibson and Davey, and the picture’s director, Farhad Safinia.”
Gibson is cast in the film as a professor who began compiling the Oxford English dictionary in 1957. Sean Penn co-stars as an insane asylum inmate who submitted more than 10,000 entries to the dictionary.
Production began in 2016, but the defendants failed to provide a final budget, according to the suit, which also alleged they refused to allow critical scenes to be shot in part in Oxford, England, and prevented Safinia “from producing a cut of the film to be considered by Mr. Gibson in his selection of the final cut.”
Icon asked the defendants to correct their alleged breaches, but they “simply ignored plaintiffs’ notices,” and the end result was a film that is “inconsistent with the approved script,” the complaint alleged.
The defendants screened an unapproved cut at the Cannes Film Festival and were doing the same in Los Angeles County, which “violates Mr. Gibson’s ultimate right to select the final cut of the picture,” the suit alleged.
The judge previously denied a motion by Icon attorneys to reclaim the rights to the film, making it harder for the plaintiffs to block its release.