In 1976, Jake LaMotta sold his soul to MGM.
Or rather, he sold them his life rights. Which is why the studio put up such a fuss when they found out that the former World Middleweight Champion boxer (now 90!) was behind a planned follow-up to “Raging Bull,” the 1980 Martin Scorsese film that starred Oscar-winner Robert De Niro as LaMotta. As a matter of fact, they filed a lawsuit claiming veto power over any film bearing the title “Raging Bull 2” under a “first right of refusal” clause in the original contract, which essentially means that LaMotta is obligated to give the studio first crack at an “official” sequel before entering into a contract with a third party. Since that didn’t happen, MGM wins.
In exchange for the studio dismissing the lawsuit, LaMotta and his producers have now agreed to change the title of their film to “The Bronx Bull” (LaMotta’s real-life nickname) as well as issue a press release publicly disassociating their project from the original movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“The parties have amicably reached a resolution of their pending litigation, pursuant to which production of a film based upon certain events in the life of Jake LaMotta will proceed under the working title The Bronx Bull,” said MGM and original “Raging Bull 2” (now “Bronx Bull”) producer Dahlia Waingort in a joint statement. “That film is not related in any way to the 1980 motion picture entitled Raging Bull, and MGM is not associated with the film in any respect. Neither party will have any further statements regarding this matter.”
And there you have it.
In case you were wondering, the Martin Guigui-directed sequel-that’s-technically-no-longer-a-sequel has already been shot, with a cast including William Forsythe as LaMotta, Joe Mantegna, Paul Sorvino, Natasha Henstridge and Penelope Ann Miller. No distributor is currently in place.
Are you interested in seeing a sequel to the Scorsese film even if it’s not considered an “official” follow-up? Sound off in the comments!