MGM sues to stop Raging Bull II

Senior Editor
07.05.12 13 Comments

Poor William Forsythe can’t catch a break. Boardwalk Empire‘s memorable murderous kosher butcher Manny Horvitz was set to play Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull II, a long-awaited sequel to the 1980 Scorsese classic being directed by Martin Guigui (the auteur best known for National Lampoon’s Cattle Call) which began filming last month. (And yes, this is a real production still from that film). Tom Sizemore was even in it! Unfortunately, MGM has sued to halt production, which seems like a total hater move.

In a 7-page complaint filed today (read it here) against the 91-year old former boxer and RB II Productions, MGM wants the courts to order production on Raging Bull 2, which is currently filming in LA, stopped. Additionally, the studio wants to make sure the indie movie never sees the light of day. MGM also wants compensatory damages and punitive and exemplary damages and more “awarded in an amount sufficient to punish the RB II defendants and to deter those who would commit or knowingly seek to profit from similar actions, now or in the future.”

Easy there, Cheech, a simple “no” would’ve sufficed.

MGM alleges LaMotta had no right to allow RB II Productions the rights to his 1986 sequel book without first offering it to them. That comes from a 1976 agreement the boxer and co-author Peter Savage entered into with Chartoff-Winkler Productions. That agreement, which MGM is the successor-in-interest to, not only included his 1970 memoir but extended to any “owner-written sequel,” says the studio. MGM says that RB II has ignored the studio’s attempts to get them and LaMotta to comply with the 1976 agreement. [Deadline]

The sequel was based on a book co-written by Jake LaMotta, and no matter how bad it is, or how much the production stills look like a burlesque production of Guys & Dolls, it seems fairly evil to sue a 91-year-old man for trying to tell his own life story. That’s certainly the argument I’d make in court if I was the production company. Then I’d put Jake LaMotta on the stand and have him look the MGM lawyers right in the eye and say, “…You f*ck my life? …Just tell me. Did you f*ck my life?”

Here’s the original press release from the makers of the movie:

Raging Bull II fills in the gaps and allows us to get to know Jake LaMotta. It answers such questions as what happened to him or what he was like as a youngster. LaMotta himself was present and providing guidance before and during the shoot.

Although Raging Bull gave us the adult version of Jake LaMotta, it did not provide the rare look into Jake’s childhood nor the impact of the after effects of his violent life. Raging Bull II provides this much desired insight into the real-life struggle of a down-and-out pugilist who turns his anger, abusive childhood into a boxing career. Although his brute force turned him into a middleweight champion, it also created challenges in his life. [via Collider]

If you ask me, the craziest part of this story is that a guy who spent his entire life drinking, smoking cigars, eating steaks, and getting punched in the face is still alive at 91. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take this broccoli smoothie and shove it up my doctor’s ass.

[pictures via Collider]

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