Martin Scorsese has finally broken silence on the lawsuit against Cecchi Gori Pictures and Cecchi Gori USA, who sued the "Hugo" helmer for failing to direct "Silence" as his next movie. Through his representative on Friday, August 24, Scorsese called the lawsuit "shocking" and branded it "absurd."
"It is shocking to us that the lawyers for Cecchi Gori Pictures would file a suit pursuing such absurd claims considering the amicable working relationship existing between Martin Scorsese and the principals of Cechi Gori Pictures," so said the director's rep Leslee Dart.
Scorsese's camp also accused the producing company of doing a media stunt with the suit. "The claims asserted are completely contradicted by, inconsistent with, and contrary to the express terms of an agreement entered into by the parties last year," he added. "The lawsuit filing on the eve of Mr. Scorsese starting another picture has all the earmarks of a media stunt."
Morever, the "Shutter Island" filmmaker "is confident that he will prevail in court should Cecchi Gori Pictures actually pursue this meritless action."
On Wednesday, August 22, Checci Gori filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that the company has sealed several agreements with Scorsese and his Sikelia Production for him to helm "Silence", a movie about missionaries who were sent to Japan in 1683 and based on a Japanese novel by Shusaku Endo.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company, which is presided by Vittorio Cecchi Gori, stated that it has invested $750,000 to develop the film which Scorsese agreed to direct right after he wrapped 1997's "Kundun". In 2004 and 2011, the director allegedly signed a contract to delay "Silence" so he could helm "The Departed", "Shutter Island" and "Hugo".
By signing the deal, Scorsese must pay "substantial compensation and other valuable benefits, for the right to direct these three other films prior to Silence." However, according to the complaint, the filmmaker never paid his delay fee for "Hugo" and decided to helm "The Wolf of Wall Street" for Red Granite instead.
"The Cecchi Gori Parties cannot allow their rights to be ignored or compromised by further delay on the part of Scorsese and Sikelia," so said Cecchi Gori in its complaint.