In the history of stars suing production companies for more money this must go down as… another one. Okay, so that’s cynical and this really is an odd tale.
Randy Quaid is suing Focus Features, producer James Schamus and former Focus president David Linde for $10 million for - and here’s where it gets interesting - allegedly persuading him to “donate” his performance, claiming that the film would be a low-budget art houser.
Quaid’s suit claims that the producers intentionally misrepresented the film’s status to him by telling him it had no prospects of making money. Which is, it must be said, an odd thing for them to say. For the record, the film has grossed more than $82 million domestically and nearly $160 million worldwide to date.
"Relying on defendants' misrepresentations that the picture would be made on a minimal budget and that 'everyone was making sacrifices,' Randy Quaid agreed to make such a sacrifice, which, in the context of his status within the movie industry and the true budget of the film, was effectively a donation of his time," reads the complaint.
Quaid agreed to waive his fee and work to scale on the film, in which he played Joe Aguirre, the man who hires Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters. "Had the defendants' true knowledge and intention been disclosed to Randy Quaid, he would never have agreed to allow defendants to enrich themselves at his expense," the suit continues, adding that the damages amount to at least $10 million. Focus declined to comment - but you’ve got to think that they’ve made enough money to hammer out a settlement.