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Deal may delay ‘Double’ date

One of the most high-profile cases in town may soon be coming to a resolve. Lawyers for Sony Pictures Entertainment and John Travolta are expected to ask the court for a six-month continuance today on the court date for “The Double” lawsuit in order to try and reach an out-of-court settlement.

Lawyers on both sides have been working feverishly over the past three weeks to settle the case. The complaint originally was scheduled to be heard Monday, but was continued to July 21.

The most likely settlement would be for Travolta to star in a film after he finishes “A Civil Action” for Touchstone Pictures, but Sony is said to be holding out for a monetary repayment as well.

Seeking consensus

Sony, Mandalay and Travolta’s reps have been reading over scripts for the past month looking for a project that all sides could agree on. The studio has presented several scripts to the actor, including Mandalay’s “The Intruder” and Columbia’s sci-fier “After the Visitation,” sources said, but no agreement could be made.

Insiders said a settlement was almost reached Thursday, but fell apart at the last minute. Also being addressed in conjunction with “The Double” lawsuit is a complaint that Travolta filed concerning an alleged promised role in TriStar Pictures’ “Donnie Brasco.” The actor sued believing he was offered a lead role in that picture.

Travolta made headlines in May 1996 when he bolted from the Paris set of the Mandalay Entertainment film “The Double” during rehearsals after disagreements arose with director Roman Polanski concerning the direction of the character Travolta was to portray.

Conflicting reports

Mandalay then filed a breach of contract suit against the actor for failure to perform and asked for unspecified “millions of dollars” in damages. At the time, Travolta’s reps said he left because his son was sick with an ear infection but later it came out that Travolta and Polanski butted heads over the character.

Travolta was to receive $17 million plus compensation to star in the picture. Mandalay filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in June 1996.

Mandalay also terminated its agreement with Polanski citing Travolta’s exit on the set as force majeure.

Attorney Louis Meisinger of Troop Meisinger Stueber & Pasich is handling the case for Sony/Mandalay, while attorney Bert Fields of Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger is handling the case on behalf of Travolta.

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