EXCLUSIVE: Less than a week after the movie about the great rock ’n’ roll singer found itself in court and potential purgatory, the embattled writer of the pic has hit back. “Reduced to its core, then, the real complaint of Silver Reel/LKL is that they were unable to fulfill their contractual obligations in the time allotted and, as a result, would now rather see the Janis Project be still-born, lest anyone else succeed in bringing this important story to the screen,” says a cross complaint from Ron Terry, Morace Films and Get It While You Can, LLC filed today in L.A. Superior Court. “This film will literally not be made unless the ‘cloud’ is lifted. Cynical,” the complaint (read it here) adds in a jab to financiers Silver Reel Partners and LKL Productions, whose $117,000 paid option on the project’s screenplay expires next week.
The feature directed by Jean-Marc Vallee and starring Amy Adams about the legendary Janis Joplin was slapped with a multi-claim suit by LKL and Silver Reel on March 18 that alleged Terry and others had breached an option agreement because a $1.7 million loan hadn’t been dealt with as required. The loan with Chesterton Capitol is “holding the Screenplay and Picture hostage from Plaintiff unless outrageous sums are paid,” says the March 18 complaint. It also alleges that Terry, Get It and Morace have been shopping the screenplay around town despite LKL and Silver Reel’s exclusivity. LKL and Silver Reel wanted the courts to extend and stay their soon-to-expire option while the legal action is addressed.
Not so much, says the defendants.
“The Term of the Option Agreement expires March 31, 2015,” says today’s mocking filing. “Barring some remarkable breakthrough, it is the intention of Cross-Complainant’s to seek the Court’s intervention, and establish that Silver Reel/LKL’s Option does in fact expire as provided by the face of the Option Agreement.”
In regards to that $1.7 million loan that a supposedly then-sick Terry and GIWYC owe: “The parties have not yet been able to come to terms, however, and Silver Reel/LKL left the table to file its Complaint herein in the hopes of gaining negotiating leverage,” says today’s cross-complaint.
Now, with option clock ticking, it’s before the court to decide what the next move is — and who gets to make it.
David Berke of Beverly Hills-based Berkes Law is representing Terry, Morace Films and Get It While You Can LLC. Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert’s Gregory Korn and Jeremiah Reynolds are representing Silver Reel and LKL Productions.