John Singleton Finally Heading To Court Against Paramount
John Singleton’s finally getting his day in court. The director who burst on the scene with Boyz n the Hood back in 1991 has a beef with Paramount Pictures and MTV Films over a deal struck during the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.
THR now says that Singleton will be in court on Oct. 15 to argue that the studios reneged on a deal that would have bankrolled two projects Singleton agreed to make in light of signing Hustle & Flow over to the studios. (Singleton served as a producer on Craig Brewer’s gritty music drama.) One was going to be a Tracy Morgan concert film Spike Lee planned to direct. The other was going to be a DeRay Davis film. Though the studios made a “promise” deal during Sundance – according to Singleton – the debate seems to swirl around a set date as to when Singleton needed to deliver those two films, though the director denies that calendar date ever had been set.
“The judge is leaning towards accepting Paramount's view that a waiver in the contract expressly limited Singleton's right to pursue any equitable remedies, including an injunction, as relief for any dispute over the contract,” THR reports. “Paramount argues this bars Singleton from attempting to unwind the Hustle and Flow deal. On Thursday, Singleton lawyer Marty Singer will attempt to change the judge's mind by arguing that it is standard practice in the entertainment industry to expressly address rescission in a contract if that's what the parties intended.”
Looking at the big picture, it is strange that Singleton went from directing pictures like Poetic Justice and Higher Learning, but last directed Abduction with Taylor Lautner. Yuck. Could Paramount have been blocking the director’s attempts at material he felt passionate about? Because nobody felt passionate about Abduction.
It’s unlikely this will resolve itself quickly, as Singleton will have to debate language with the court, trying to figure out whose interpretation of a contract is correct. We’ll see how this plays out.
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