Cecchi Gori, Martin Scorsese Settle Dispute Over ‘Silence’

A settlement has been reached in Cecchi Gori Pictures’ lawsuit against Martin Scorsese, claiming he had breached an agreement to direct “Silence” as his next movie.

The “matter has been settled in its entirety,” according to minutes from a proceeding in Los Angeles Superior Court on Jan. 17.

Niels Juul, the CEO of Cecchi Gori, said that they have an agreement “in principle” and are working out the final details. He declined to elaborate until the final settlement is reached, with it scheduled to be presented to the court on March 20.

“We have has this parallel great relationship (with Scorsese) where we have been working actively to make sure the film moves forward,” Juul said. “In every family there is disagreement on certain issues.”

He added, “When everything was said and done, there was just a great script and a great movie and a great director.”

Since the suit was filed, Scorsese has been casting for “Silence.” The movie is expected to start shooting in August, Juul said.

Attorneys for Cecchi Gori filed suit against Scorsese on Aug. 22, claiming the helmer had breached an agreement to direct “Silence” as his next pic. According to court docs, producers sunk more than $750,000 into development of the picture, which they claim Scorsese agreed to direct more than twenty years ago. As it turned out, Scorsese’s next project was “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but Scorsese has since been casting for “Silence.”

A rep for Scorsese could not immediately be reached. But the director’s reps last August called the lawsuit “absurd” considering that he has an “amicable” working relationship with the production company. “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,” Scorsese’s statement said.

“Silence” tells the tale of a 17th century Jesuit missionary and is based on a book by Japanese author Shusako Endo.

A number of financial difficulties have beleagured Cecchi, which was Italy’s top production and distribution shingle until the mid 1990s, during the past few years. Two years ago the company had to battle bankruptcy proceedings in Italy, which included the auctioning off of the company’s 300-title library which included Oscar-winning pics “Life is Beautiful,” “Il Postino” and Vittorio Gassman starrer “Il Sorpasso.” Juul was brought in to revive the company, with “Silence” among its projects.

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