Los Angeles, April 28
Richard Gere has filed a lawsuit alleging extortion of $500,000 over the film rights to a book on Buddhism.
The 68-year-old actor filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court and said he had been working with producing partners Random Acts Entertainment, owned by Scott and Anna Elias, to adapt the book “Bones of the Master: A Buddhist Monk’s Search for the Lost Heart of China” for the big screen.
As per the agreement, Gere would star in and direct the film, while Anna would write one or more drafts of the screenplay, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The script produced by Anna was “woefully inadequate” and Gere claimed that he refused to be star in the project. He claimed that the duo threatened him with lawsuit.
“In order for Mr Gere to commit to the Project as the star and director, Mr Gere required that the screenplay be completed and approved. This approval right has been consistently applied to virtually all films in which Mr Gere has starred,” wrote attorney Jeremiah Reynolds in the lawsuit.
Gere also claimed he paid $35,000 for his share of the rights in 2015 but was not reimbursed for the other half and believes that the pair should have no rights to the project.
“Despite Mr Gere’s efforts to make the Project a success, Defendants, who are evidently desperate for money, have recently attempted to extort Mr Gere into paying them the sum of $500,000 to ‘buyout’ their interest in the Project, despite their breaches and lack of investment,” Reynolds wrote.
Gere is suing for breach of contract and has sought a declaration that defendants have no rights in the book or the project. – PTI