Friday, March 24, 2006
Randy Quaid Suing Over "Brokeback Mountain"
Sometimes Popsurfing oversleeps. But at least we haven't lost our minds, like Randy Quaid. According to Variety, Quaid is suing Focus Features, saying they "tricked" him into believing Brokeback Mountain was a no-budget art film with no chance of making money when in fact it was going to have full studio backing and a big push. The suit says he wants $10 million and implies that is what he would have received if they'd been upfront about the film's backing and commercial prospects. Where to begin? First, Quaid has never come close to being paid $10 million for any movie he's appeared in -- not Independence Day (a movie with the biggest expectations imaginable) nor the Vacation comedies nor anything. Certainly, no one would be paid $10 million for the tiny role he had in this film -- Quaid had two scenes at the trailer and one scene on horseback spotting the lads playfully wrestling from afar. It probably took two weeks, I imagine. And it was hardly a secret that Focus Features is a division of Universal and that Brokeback was a prestige item, whatever its commercial prospects. Quaid certainly knows that ANY movie that catches fire is going to get the full backing of the studio. But sometimes you make Brokeback and sometimes you make Casanova, another "art" film that on paper was much more commercially viable. That one also starred Heath Ledger but sank like a stone. Sometimes you make a tiny British film with male strippers and it's The Full Monty. Sometimes you make a tiny British film with female strippers and it's the extremely modest grossing Mrs. Henderson Presents. Sometimes a roll of the dice gives you Brokeback and sometimes you get The New World. Now, did the people behind Brokeback lie to Quaid about the budget of the film? Did they lie about the money other actors were being paid? Did they lie about the money the producers were being paid? That's certainly a basis for a lawsuit. And of course lawyers always ask for more money than they expect to get. But $10 million? That's absurd.