Almorah, HandMade resolve dispute with star
Thurman, whom HandMade cast three years ago to play the nanny in a movie version of the ’50s children’s tome “Eloise in Paris,” hired showbiz lawyer Bert Fields in January and instructed him to sue HandMade for £6 million ($9.6 million) as the pic had not lensed and she had missed out on other films she could have made during the period.
The settlement means Thurman will continue to be involved with the project in some capacity, Almorah owner David Francis said Friday.
“We aim to build a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with Uma and are delighted to resolve this matter in a very amicable manner and at a very early stage,” he said.
Thurman said, “I am delighted to begin a fresh relationship with HandMade Films and look forward to helping to bring ‘Eloise’ to the big screen.”
It’s unclear whether Australian tyke Jordana Beatty, who was cast to play 6-year-old Eloise, is still attached.
Now age 12, she has snagged the title role in helmer John Schultz’s family pic “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” for Smokewood Entertainment (Daily Variety, July 21).
HandMade has been restructured since Almorah paid $3.5 million for it, a tenth of its value, in April.
Francis called it a “significant challenge” involving a change of management, a review of operations, “and a focus on generating stable revenue for the company, whilst respecting the integrity and history of its great assets,” which include “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
Francis is CEO of Horizon Group, one of HandMade’s shareholders. He set up Almorah specifically for the HandMade acquisition, buying the 40% stake in the shingle owned by former co-CEO Patrick Meehan’s family trust Cartier Investments.
Almorah now holds a 100% stake in the company.
HandMade, founded by the late Beatle George Harrison in the 1970s, has been having longterm financial difficulties. Its shares were suspended in January for the third time in three years and HandMade is now delisted from the London Stock Exchange.