July 7, 2000 -- — An attorney for comedianMike Myers said the actor plans to countersue UniversalStudios and Imagine Entertainment in an increasingly bitterlegal battle over failed plans to make a film based on a popularMyers’ character.
The countersuit, which attorney Martin Singer is expected tofile in Los Angeles on Monday, alleges an assault in theway a process server chased Myers into his own home, violationsto Myers’ right of privacy, abuse of process, and fraud on thepart of Universal.
Myers’ suit follows a $30 million action filed by Imagine, headed by actor/director Ron Howard andproducer Brian Grazer.
Failed Negotiations “Ironically, we would have filed our cross complaint withintwo days of the filing of [Imagine’s] suit, but for the factwe’ve had discussions with Universal that were getting veryclose to possibly resolving the matter,” Singer said.
“Now that this lawsuit has been filed, it’s not going to beresolved as far as we are concerned,” he added. “Our positionis we are just going to proceed with litigation.”
Universal had also sued Myers for $5 million back in Junewith much the same claims against the comedian, who scored ahuge blockbuster movie with his 1999 spy spoof, Austin Powers:The Spy Who Shagged Me.
The two filmmakers allege Myers pulled out of an agreementto make a film based on his popular character “Dieter,” aGerman talk show host Myers made famous on NBC’s SaturdayNight Live. Imagine was making the film for Universal, whichshut down the film’s preproduction in June.
A Universal spokesman declined to comment on its lawsuit.
Script Rejected The battle dates back to May when Myers, Imagine andUniversal were hashing out details of a script for theDieter film, which was to have gone into production thisyear with a release date set for the summer of 2001.
At the time, Myers told Universal he would not make themovie because he did not believe the script was ready. Myers hadthe right to approve the script before filming. In a statementissued after Universal filed its suit, Myers said making thefilm would “cheat moviegoers.”
But Imagine’s suit claims Myers had written the screenplayhimself, and alleges the comedian has shown “a pattern andpractice of breaking his promises” in his past movie deals.
“I can’t wait to get this guy on the stand and let theworld see what he is like,” said Imagine attorney Bert Fields,whose clients have included Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
Box Office Bust Singer said, however, that the script was written with twoco-writers, and Myers had been trying to work on revisions —possibly bringing in a new writer — with Imagine and Universalonly days before Universal’s suit was filed.
Singer called Imagine’s claims that Myers had shown apattern of broken promises, “pure nonsense,” and said Myers“honored his contractual commitments.”
Imagine is asking for the $30 million it believes would haveroughly equaled its share of the gross ticket sales of a Myers’movie. The Spy Who Shagged Me raked in around $310 millionin global ticket sales last year. The Dieter movie was tohave been Myers’ next film after the Spy Who Shagged Me.
Universal is a unit of the Canadian firm, Seagram Co. Ltd. Seagram is currently in the process ofmerging with the French utility concern Vivendi and its pay TVsubsidiary, Canal Plus.