Woody sues ex-producer

Helmer alleges Doumanian, prod'n co. failed to pay profits

Woody Allen has sued his former producer Jean Doumanian, charging that she cheated him out of profits from the last eight movies they made together.

In a complaint filed Wednesday in state court in Manhattan, Allen alleged that Doumanian and her production company have failed to pay Allen’s Moses Prods. its share of gross profits and have refused to provide accurate financial information about his films’ earnings. The suit alleges multiple causes of action for breach of contract and seeks an accounting as well as unspecified damages.

According to the complaint, Allen and Doumanian’s Sweetland Films entered into a written agreement on August 1, 1993, for the production, financing and distribution of their first three films, “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Mighty Aphrodite” and “Everyone Says I Love You.”

Contract stipulations

Under the contract, Allen’s company was to receive half the adjusted gross from the films. Contract also required Sweetland to provide an accurate and detailed accounting of money owed to Allen.

The next five films — “Deconstructing Harry,” “Wild Man Blues,” “Celebrity,” “Sweet and Lowdown” and “Small Time Crooks” — were made pursuant to oral agreements that allegedly carried the same terms as the 1993 written contract.

In support of the allegation that Doumanian understated profits and denied Allen a proper accounting, the complaint alleges, “Defendants have provided Moses with nothing more than a single, incomplete, cursory, wholly insufficient statement” that “contained numerous inaccuracies and was in material respects false and misleading.” The statement, it is alleged, reflected improper, duplicative and overstated expense changes and failed to account properly for revenues.

Lawyer speaks out

Doumanian’s attorney Bert Fields replied, “Mr. Allen’s latest excursion into the courts has no more merit than his last one and will have no more success. We intend not only to defend it vigorously but to file a cross-complaint detailing his conduct.” Fields presumably is referring to Allen’s disastrous custody battle in the early ’90s. He did not elaborate on the nature of Doumanian’s claims against Allen.

Allen is represented by Michael Zweig of Loeb & Loeb. He declined to comment further on the suit.

Also named as a defendant is Jacqui Safra, Doumanian’s longtime companion. According to the complaint, Safra received substantial profits from the pictures and executive producer credit under the pseudonym “J.E. Beaucaire.”

Allen and Doumanian parted ways in March 2000, and Allen subsequently entered into a deal with DreamWorks. At the time, the split was called amiable, and Doumanian was described as a close friend whom he had met when he was doing standup comedy 40 years ago.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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