A judge has scheduled a judgment debtor examination hearing for “Spring Breakers” producer Chris Hanley in response to the suit filed by Periscope Entertainment against Hanley’s company Muse Productions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hanley must appear in person on June 9th or face being taken into custody by law enforcement.
Hanley is currently in Cannes trying to raise money for a sequel to last year’s sleeper hit – a decision that has subsequently incited the displeasure of James Franco, who, last week, took to his Instagram account to condemn Muse’s decision to produce a sequel without director Harmony Korine’s explicit consent.
What began as a tabloid story transformed into a full-blown legal problem earlier this week, when The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Periscope had filed a suit against MUSE, claiming that they were owed $300,000 – funds that Periscope says it loaned to Muse in order to fund the development of the upcoming Billy Bob Thornton-Amber Heard film, “London Fields.” When the film began production in September 2013, Periscope says that it asked Muse to return $270,000. In the lawsuit filed on May 19th, Periscope notes that on September 13, 2013 it filed a “breach of written contract and fraud and deceit.”
By February 2014, Periscope and Muse had reached a stipulated judgement of $300,000 – meaning Muse had finally agreed to pay back its debt. Around the same time as when the two parties reached an agreement, however, Periscope says it discovered that Muse had transferred the rights to the “London Fields” screenplay, as well as some other Muse assets, to a company called Nicola Six Limited. Strangely enough – or perhaps not – Nicola Six Limited is named after the murder victim in “London Fields,” and co-owned by Hanley and “Spring Breakers” co-producer Jordan Gertner.
Per The Hollywood Reporter’s most recent report, the judge not only set up Hanley with a court date, but also issued an order to appoint a receiver to collected the funds owed by Muse.
Periscope’s haste to collect is not unfounded – especially given the recent transfer of certain Muse assets over to Nicole Six Limited. If Muse were to transfer all of their assets over to other entities, then Periscope would never see any of what they are owed.
Hanley, meanwhile, appears to be cooperating: “In terms of the stipulated judgment Muse Productions signed in February for $305,000: One does not sign without the intention of satisfying such an agreement. The intention was always to do so and would take place before June 9 in any case,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.