The Hollywood Reporter today has one of those stories that sheds light on the scummy underbelly of Hollywood, where shady producers and once wide-eyed rubes sue each other over bounced checks and broken promises, all because they couldn’t agree on who should control a project. And the real loser in all this? You and I, the viewers, who’ll probably never get to see Beverly Hills Ninja 2 now, starring David Hasselhoff. No, really, that was the jumping off point. Multiple people thought it would be a good idea to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making a sequel to the worst movie from Chris Farley, a guy with the charisma to carry an entire film by himself, starring David Hasselhoff, a guy who couldn’t even hold a hamburger.
Last year, Mitchell Klebanoff, who co-wrote the original and was tapped to direct the follow-up, won a lawsuit against Korean investors who bought rights to the franchise from Sony. An arbitrator in the dispute determined that the investors hadn’t properly terminated him as a director and awarded him nearly $262,000.
A person can make a quarter mil for not directing a David Hasselhoff movie!? That settles it, I’m going to find my guidance counselor and kick him right in the nuts. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t direct a David Hasselhoff movie.
More recently comes a lawsuit from Jay So, who, in perhaps the saddest part of the lawsuit, was once a scholarship student and a best picture-winning graduate of AFI, who says he was unlawfully terminated by investors and stiffed on his promised $100,000 producing fee. For trying to produce Beverly Hills Ninja 2. Starring David Hasselhoff. (Really, I can’t stress this part enough).
So claims that he commenced substantial pre-production efforts and activities, including sourcing potential investors. He says that he was the one who lined up Jungho Han, the Korean who agreed to provide 100 percent of the financing for the project.
Did you catch that bit? It means that somewhere, there’s a mysterious Korean who thought Beverly Hills Ninja 2 starring David Hasselhoff was a good enough idea that he was willing to finance the entire project himself. I picture this guy as a cross between Steven Seagal and Jackie Treehorn.
He [So] adds that he set up the production entitity, “Beverly Hills Ninja 2, LLC,” contacted and worked with visual effects and bonding companies to obtain estimates for the film, met with Sony, negotiated waivers with the guilds to start casting, and so forth. Then, in May 2008, he says that Klebanoff and Han made a deal with each other without his knowledge to change the name of the production entity to “BHN2, LLC” and replace him with Han.
Ah, the eternal middle-man dilemma. If your only job is to put people together, what’s to stop them from telling you to f*ck off once they’ve met? Anyway, two Koreans arguing over money, I could see that anywhere. WHAT OF BEVERLY HILLS NINJA 2, STARRING DAVID HASSELHOFF?!
The film stopped production in LA, before resuming in Vancouver. Some of the film was shot, but it was never completed because Klebanoff and Han argued over things like whether the film’s lead actress should appear nude in the film. [THR]
Naked women? No no no. Nothing should distract from David Hasselhoff playing a ninja. Jesus, man, it’s like you don’t even understand the appeal.