There’s bad blood behind the scenes of the next Star Wars movie. Rian Johnson, the film’s writer-director, is being sued by his former agent, Brian Dreyfuss, who claims he helped Johnson get the gig but is now being cut out of his 10% commission.
Filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, the breach of implied contract suit (read it here) claims that Ram Bergman, who produced Johnson’s last three films and is producing Star Wars: Episode VIII, has been conspiring for years to limit Dreyfuss’ influence over Johnson.
Dreyfuss claims Lucasfilm and veteran Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy reached out to him in January 2014 to see if Johnson would be interested in directing the next film in the franchise. Dreyfuss says he encouraged the director to take the job, but that Johnson told him that “he wanted to focus on his own projects and did not want to consider outside source material at that time, including any projects from Lucasfilm.”
Two months later, the suit states, Johnson fired Dreyfuss and subsequently took the Star Wars job. Dreyfuss claims the split was orchestrated by Bergman for “his own financial interests and his intent to control Johnson’s career,” and that Bergman had determined that Dreyfuss “should be eliminated from representing Johnson before entering into any agreement with Lucasfilm relating to the Star Wars project.” Dreyfuss lays out a scenario where Bergman led Johnson to WME before CAA even had a chance to counter.
According to the complaint, Johnson and Dreyfuss were once so close that Dreyfuss convinced his own father to invest $35K into one of the filmmaker’s first movies — Brick, which starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and won critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.
In his suit, Dreyfuss is asking the court to award him his 10% commission and compensation for general and punitive damages.