Times have really changed in Hollywood when Mel Gibson can file a lawsuit against somebody for treating him unfairly, but that’s just how great the movie industry’s capacity for forgiveness is. According to Variety, Gibson is suing production company Voltage Pictures because it has allegedly breached its contract to produce his dictionary movie The Professor And The Madman. It sounds like there are a number of issues here, including Voltage’s refusal to develop a final budget, its failure to finalize the contract with director Farhad Safinia, its failure to reimburse Gibson’s own production company for certain expenses, for screwing up the Australian distribution rights, and for refusing to secure important filming locations in Oxford, England.
The contract also specifically gives Gibson the power to choose between Safinia’s cut of the film and one made by Voltage, but since Safinia hasn’t been able to shoot the film as originally intended, he hasn’t been able to complete his cut. Because of this, Voltage has been screening its cut of the movie without giving Gibson a chance to select his preferred cut. In another slightly weird/fun detail, Voltage CEO Nicolas Chartier “was traveling” this week, so he hasn’t provided a comment.
The Professor And The Madman is about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, with Gibson playing a professor named James Murray who oversaw the making of the dictionary and Sean Penn playing a man named William Chester Minor who contributed 10,000 entries while living in an insane asylum.