When an actor is disgruntled, usually he refuses to do press for a film, or he’ll badmouth it and smile as it crashes and burns. Rarely does someone take people to court. But that’s exactly what’s happening with “Giallo,” the latest film from horror maestro Dario Argento. The movie’s already developed a reputation as a late period stinker from the director of genre classics “Suspiria” and “Tenebre,” flopping hard internationally. But were producers prepared to feel the wrath of their lead actor?
Oscar winner Adrien Brody signed a pay-or-play deal to star as the lead in the film, a detective unraveling the identity of a notorious serial killer. However, when financing fell through, Brody was left empty-handed despite shooting already beginning. Assured there was additional financing from pre-sold international rights, Brody agreed to defer his payment in order to complete the film, on the condition that, were he not paid, he would take legal action.
As a result, on the eve of “Giallo” coming to DVD (as much a surprise to all of us, really), Brody has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the producers. In addition to the fee he is owed, Brody seeks compensation for being defrauded and for breach of contract, along with an injunction to block the film from being seen by American audiences. Brody is clearly in the right, especially considering a pay-or-play deal (where an actor is paid regardless of whether or not a film begins or completes shooting) is supposed to be a real sweetheart arrangement. IMDb lists “Giallo”‘s budget at $14 million, however, which is fairly (implausibly) high for a once-great filmmaker who hasn’t really set the world afire as of late. The situation was ripe for behind-the-scenes screwery in regards to an international production like this.
Of course, “Giallo” was filmed a couple of years ago already, and it hasn’t stopped Brody from keeping busy. His next, however, looks like yet another film tailor-made for shady financing and post-production lawsuits. Titled “Wrecked,” the film follows Brody as an amnesiac waking from a car wreck and realizing that he may have been involved in a bank robbery gone wrong. It looks pretty overheated and straight-to-DVD, but it might be worth seeing to catch the star of “The Pianist” fight a mountain lion.