Arcara files countersuit in ‘Crowded Room’ flap

The legal jostling over “The Crowded Room” has gotten even more complex as Sandra Arcara filed a $ 5 million countersuit against director James Cameron and others yesterday, in an attempt to gain control over the feature film property.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, charges fraud and breach of joint venture agreement.

Arcara’s attorney, Harry Swerdlow of Cooper, Epstein & Herwitz, also filed a response to Cameron’s $ 3 million suit against Acara, filed in October 1992 (Daily Variety, Oct. 1, 1992).

The fighting began last year when the film was in pre-production at Fox, set to star John Cusack.

At the time, Arcara and her SAMA Prods. entered a joint agreement with Cameron and his American Gothic Prods. to make “The Crowded Room,” which Cameron was to write and direct. Arcara would exec produce.

Cameron’s suit claimed that Arcara undermined the project last spring when she demanded that Fox increase her fee from $ 250,000 to $ 1.5 million. Fox reportedly then pulled out of financing the film.

Yet Arcara’s suit alleges that it was Cameron who withheld information about prior agreements that would require third parties to be included in the film’s budget.

Among those named in her suit were Lightstorm Entertainment, Pacific Western Prods. and Gale Anne Hurd.

Cameron spokesman Matt Saver at Lightstorm said that “We were in pre-production last spring when she asked that her fee be increased. Because of that, Fox pulled out. This picture would have been wrapped by now if that hadn’t occurred.”

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