The adaptation of Martin Amis’ dystopian novel remains in limbo more than a year after its disastrous debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. The director, Mathew Cullen, sued producers Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner at the opening of the festival, accusing them of fraud. The premiere screening was cancelled, and the critics who managed to see it gave it scathing reviews.
Two months later, the producers counter-sued Cullin, accusing him of breaching his contract. Among other things, the producers alleged that Cullin went $4.5 million over his $8 million budget.
In the new lawsuit, the producers contend that Heard also conspired to sabotage the film, going so far as to campaign for its cancellation at Toronto. According to the suit, much of the conflict with Heard related to the issue of nudity. The producers contend that Heard worked with the director to eliminate some of the more provocative scenes. The suit also claims that Heard objected to versions of the film that included some nudity and simulated sex, though she had agreed to the scenes in her contract. Heard stars as Nicola Six, a “femme fatale” with clairvoyant powers.
“Heard understood the nature of the role … and the tenor of the screenplay, which was salacious, provocative, and contained nude scenes,” the lawsuit states.
The suit reiterates the producers’ complaints with Cullin, accusing him of falling behind schedule and failing to deliver a timely cut of the film. The suit contends that Heard sided with Cullin against the producers. The producers ultimately took the film away from Cullin, finishing their own edit of the movie. Heard is alleged to have failed to perform dialogue replacement during post-production, and to have conspired with Cullin and other actors to damage the pic’s prospects.
Heard attended the 2015 Toronto fest to promote “The Danish Girl,” in which she had a smaller part, and “Black Mass,” starring Johnny Depp, to whom she was married to at the time. She did not promote “London Fields,” creating an unavoidable public relations problem for the film, according to the suit. Heard’s agent urged the festival to pull the film from the schedule, the suit contends.
The Toronto fiasco prompted nearly all of the film’s potential distributors to break off talks with the producers, according to the suit.
Heard’s attorney declined to comment on the allegations.