Over the course of their careers, celebrities review contracts, make deals and work with a handful of directors, producers and agents to determine their next move. Sometimes, that next move doesn’t pan out like they would hope. A-list actors have been replaced by another leading man or woman seen better fit for a role. In other situations, the celebrity chooses to walk away and often, these decisions are amicable among all involved.
In the case of a disagreement, celebrities can find themselves the subject of a lawsuit due to their actions or in-action and millions are spent in settling the dispute.
Check out these Hollywood stars that have seen the inside of a courtroom, all because of decisions made on the set.
6 Kim Basinger – Boxing Helena
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One of the most infamous situations of an actress stepping away from a film is the case of Kim Basinger’s legal dealings with Director Jennifer Lynch in Boxing Helena. Originally, Lynch had Madonna pegged for the role, but when Madonna passed, Basinger was offered the role.
According to Den of Geek, Basinger verbally agreed to take the lead but when she ultimately backed out, Main Line Pictures took her to court, arguing they had lost over $6 million in sales. The judge ordered Basinger to pay nearly $9 million citing a breach in contract and acting in bad faith. The bill at that time was more than $3 million than Basinger’s net worth, basically bankrupting her.
Her appeal was found in Basinger’s favor and they ended up settling the case for $3.8 million. The film was eventually made starring Sherilyn Fenn, with little to no fanfare.
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5 Whoopi Goldberg – Theodore Rex
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Goldberg isn’t one to compromise under normal circumstances. After a verbal agreement to participate in the film, Goldberg attempted to back out. Theodore Rex was the most expensive straight-to-video film ever made and Goldberg, perhaps, saw its lack of success coming.
Producer Richard Gilbert Abramson wouldn’t take no for an answer and sued the Ghost star for $20 million. A settlement out of court resulted in Goldberg starring in the film for $7 million, a pay increase on the original deal. She earned a Worst Actress nomination at the Gold Raspberry awards for her less-than stellar performance.
4 Evan Rachel Wood – 10 Things I Hate About Life
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The follow-up project to the 1999 hit, 10 Things I Hate About You was set to star Wood. According to E! News, the actress went as far as collecting a $300,000 retainer but then backed out of the film. The studio subsequently sued the star for $30 million, including $20 million in lost profits, $500,000 in financing costs, $6 million in lost investments and $5 million in damages.
Wood’s rep said the decision was not hers, but rather, the producers ran out of funds for the project and called a six-month hiatus as they tried to get the project back on the right path. The film remains unfinished and nothing has been heard as far as a settlement is concerned.
3 John Travolta – The Double
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In 1997, Travolta was set to replace Anthony Hopkins in the leading role for The Double. After some rewrite discrepancies with director Roman Polanski and Mandalay Entertainment, Travolta chose to walk away from the project.
The loss of the A-list actor led to Mandalay Entertainment suing Travolta. The star’s lawyer argued he would have never signed a contract until the official screenplay was approved by all parties, and according to What Culture, the dispute was settled out of court.
2 Bruce Willis – Three Stories About Joan
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The Die Hard actor was apparently set to direct the film starring Owen Wilson and Camilla Belle, but according to TMZ, he walked off the set and didn’t look back.
Foresight Unlimited claimed the low budget film had contracts in place and cited “personal reasons” that Willis walked away. They sought $4 million in damages and Willis’ attorney hit back with allegations that the producers had failed to secure funds to pay Willis, the actors and actresses and the crew.
1 Woody Harrelson – Benny and Joon
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You remember Benny and Joon, staring Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson, right? Perhaps that was the way it was meant to be, but as the story goes, it was Harrelson set to take on the lead role.
Harrelson walked away when he was offered a lead in Adrian Lyne’s Indecent Proposal (a good move for Harrelson) and MGM sued both Harrelson and Paramount Pictures for the switch. The case was settled out of court for a rumored $500,000 and everyone’s films turned out just fine.
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Sources: Den of Deek, E! News, TMZ, What Culture
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