Brody: No alternative but to sue film producers

LOS ANGELES (AP) - November 24, 2010

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer on Monday blocked the sale or use of Brody's likeness in "Giallo" until the Oscar winner's remaining salary is paid. The judge noted in her ruling that the actor was likely to prevail in his $2 million lawsuit against the filmmakers.

"At no point did I ever wish to be involved in a legal dispute, but after over a year of attempting to resolve this matter I was left with no other alternative," Brody said in a statement released to The Associated Press by his attorney Wednesday.

The actor sued Hannibal Pictures and U.K.-based Giallo Productions Ltd. in October, shortly before "Giallo" went on sale in the United States. In a sworn declaration, Brody claimed the filmmakers lied to him about the movie's financing and how much its Italian distribution rights were worth.

An after-hours phone message left for Martin Barab, an attorney representing the filmmakers, was not immediately returned.

The picture was shot in 2008 in Turin, Italy, and Brody is featured prominently on the DVD's cover.

Brody said he was grateful for the ruling.

"I am greatly appreciative of the court's ruling which protects me, and shows support for all artists who have been manipulated and taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers," his statement said.

Brody, 37, won an Oscar in 2003 for his role in "The Pianist."

According to the lawsuit, he agreed to defer some of his salary payments for "Giallo" after its producers informed him the film was having financial problems. As a concession, Brody was given the ability to withhold his likeness from the movie unless he was fully paid, and he is still owed $640,000, according to the suit.

His attorney, Evan Spiegel, said in a statement that the filmmakers "attempted to prey on Mr. Brody's professionalism and generosity." Spiegel said Brody agreed to defer his salary so that fellow actors and the film's crew could be paid.

"Mr. Brody has never been in a legal dispute in his 39-film career, but here the producers attempted to use economic power to overpower and take advantage of a performer," Spiegel wrote.

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