'Gangs' green for Grimaldi
Producer getting $3 mil, pic to continue prod'n
By CLAUDE BRODESSER, CHARLES LYONS, April 3, 2000
Producer Alberto Grimaldi has won the 'Gangs' war.
Three months after it started, the high-profile lawsuit pursued by
Grimaldi and his Gotham-based P.E.A. Films against AMG, Michael Ovitz,
the Walt Disney Co., Universal, Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) and
its foreign distribs over Martin Scorsese’s $100 million drama “Gangs
of New York” has been settled.
Under the terms of the settlement, reached Thursday night at the
Federal District Court in New York, Grimaldi and P.E.A. will be awarded
north of $3 million, though not the entire $10 million dollars for
which he initially sued (Daily Variety, Dec. 27, 1999). Grimaldi came
up with the idea for the film and was integrally involved in setting it
up at U in 1991, long before the underlying rights were sold to Disney
and before Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro agreed to star (De Niro
departed the pic in November).
In his suit, Grimaldi had sought an injunction against U and Disney for
icing him out of the pic’s development and attempting to force him to
share his producing credit with Scorsese. He also demanded that the
film not be made. Settlement gives the producer sole production credit,
first position producer credit (one other person can get producer
credit behind his name), a cash payment and significant participation
in the film’s backend.
Also under the settlement, the entire project will revert to Grimaldi
if the picture isn’t made by the end of 2001.
Settlement also stipulates that Alberto’s son, Mauritizio Grimaldi,
will be granted an executive producer credit (Mauritizio was
instrumental in the project’s development). Scorsese’s ex-wife and
producing partner, Barbara De Fina, is no longer involved in the
project and will not receive any credit. The second position producer
credit will go to whomever is hired by Miramax to serve as the pic’s
The cash settlement will be paid out equally by IEG (the pic’s
principal financier) and Disney/Miramax, who together will provide the
rest of the pic’s budget. Miramax is the film’s domestic distributor
while IEG is handling international rights.
“Grimaldi got everything provided for in his original contract plus an
additional cash settlement,” said a source close to the suit.
IEG’s Graham King, who said he wasn’t yet fully aware of the terms of
the settlement, said, “I am really happy this is over with so we can
move ahead with the film.”
AMG notes that pre-production is already underway in Rome.
Other sources underplay the significance of the settlement and say the
only thing holding up production is scribe Steven Zailllian's rewrite.
Miramax, Disney and AMG, which reps Scorsese and DiCaprio, can also
take solace in the fact that Grimaldi is, for all intents and purposes,
out of the filmmaking process and that production can proceed full
Suit had stalled Disney and Miramax’s efforts to fast-track the film,
at one point slated to begin lensing this month in Rome. Scorsese, IEG
and the studios will now accelerate efforts to replace De Niro and cast
the female lead. Sources say Cameron Diaz is all but signed for the
IEG’s investment in the film is about $65 million, but pre-sales have
already been brisk: Company has closed deals in Japan, France, Germany
and other major territories.
“Gangs” is set in New York during the peak of Tammany Hall’s political
corruption. DiCaprio plays a Gotham gangster who organized street gangs
in an effort to control the city’s street wars between Italian and
Grimaldi’s producing credits include “Last Tango in Paris,” “The Good,
the Bad and the Ugly” and “Satyricon.”
P.E.A. and Grimaldi are repped by Ronald S. Taft, Scorsese and DiCaprio
by AMG and Diaz by ICM and AMG.
"HOLY FUCKING SHIT is that a strange quote."
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