Black Swan Producer Embroiled in Bitter Lawsuit

Along with all the accolades and award nominations Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan is receiving these days, one of its producers is heading to court, charging his former associate, Aaron Kaufman, with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of corporate opportunity.

Black SwanHere’s what we know according to Yahoo! News: Overnight LLC, led by producer Rick Schwartz, is suing Kaufman, its former president, claiming “gross lapses in judgment” cost the company millions of dollars in lost revenue and a producer credit on the movie Black Swan.

Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, was released for the holiday season and has gained early Oscar buzz after being nominated for four Golden Globe awards, including Best Drama.

“Among other things, Kaufman misrepresented his knowledge, skill and experience (and) pretended to be knowledgeable about the financing of motion pictures when he was not,” the suit said. The suit further claims that Kaufman misrepresented himself when he sought to make a deal with director Robert Rodriguez for his movie Machete, which came out in September, a move that interfered with Overnight’s obligations on other film projects, the suit said.

Kaufman, reached at his home in New Jersey, called the claims in the lawsuit baseless, said he would sue Schwartz for libel and attributed the dispute to Schwartz’s “erratic” performance. Kaufman said Schwartz ran a dysfunctional company and had failed to help produce any films on his own until Kaufman joined the company and helped secure a part in the production of Machete and Black Swan.

“Literally every point is either baseless or shaded to the point of being a lie,” Kaufman said. “Literally there is not almost a single factual thing in the lawsuit, and he goes after me personally, which is libelous.”

Seems like every year around awards time there’s a high profile film whose principals wind up in court for one reason or another. We’ll keep an eye on this year’s adversaries and let you know how it all shakes out.

Uncle Creepy

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Steve Barton

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