One Producer Sues Others Over Unpaid Commissions On Trio Of Films Starring Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick & Kate Beckinsale

A producer and aspiring actor, as well as a production company with which he is a principal, are suing a second producer and his firm in a dispute over alleged unpaid commissions and other promises concerning financing of three films with the likes of Chris Pine, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Anna Kendrick and Kate Beckinsale.

Matthew Dwyer and Rescue Dog Productions LLC brought the lawsuit against producer Jeff Elliott as well as Chad Moore, Elliott’s associate executive with their company, Bricknell and Broadbridge International, alleging fraud and breach of contract. The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory damages and restitution in the suit brought Friday.

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The films at issue are Poolman, which is Pine’s directorial debut; The Dating Game, which is Kendrick’s directorial debut and Canary Black, which stars Beckinsale.

“It is clear to plaintiffs now that they fell victim to a shell game-type con perpetrated by defendants, one in which defendants moved from film to film, making more and more promises to plaintiffs, having plaintiffs raise more and more financing based on those promises, only to take the funds plaintiffs raised and run, without honoring their end of the bargain,” reads the suit.

Representatives for Elliott and Moore could not be immediately reached for comment.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs were introduced to Elliott earlier this year and Elliott indicated that he was urgently trying to raise money for Poolman, a feature film starring Chris Pine, Susan Sarandon, Annette Bening and Danny DeVito.

“Elliot told plaintiffs that he needed to raise the $1.1 million for the film in two days,” the suit states.

In exchange, Elliot allegedly promised Rescue Dog 12% to 12.5% commission on funds raised, 3.5% equity in the film, executive producer credits for both Dwyer and his fellow Rescue Dog executive, Michael Hollingsworth, along with news releases in the entertainment media announcing Rescue Dog, Dwyer and Hollingsworth as producers.

The defendants also promised Dwyer, an aspiring actor, a role in Poolman as a waiter serving Pine and other actors in a scene, the suit alleges.

Ultimately, Rescue Dog was paid only $150,000 in commissions for its work, Dwyer and Hollingsworth did not receive producing credits or mention in the trade media and Dwyer did not get his acting role, according to the suit. Elliott told Dwyer he had a better role awaiting him in Netflix’s The Dating Game, which was to star Anna Kendrick, the suit states.

Elliott began talking to the plaintiffs in June about raising money for The Dating Game and agreed to pay the plaintiffs a 10% commission on any monies raised by the plaintiffs for the film, the suit states. Elliott also allegedly told Dwyer that the plaintiff’s acting role in The Dating Game was assured and that he would be paid $37,500 for four to six scenes in the film, including a “juicy role across from Anna Kendrick.”

Dwyer and Rescue Dog raised $1.1 million for The Dating Game, but some of the money was later allegedly allocated to production of Canary Black, the suit states.

Dwyer and Rescue Dog were never paid the promised commissions, nor was Dwyer given any role in the film, even though production went ahead in October, according to the suit.

In late August and early September, Elliott allegedly made some of the same commission, publicity and acting promises to the plaintiffs concerning the Kate Beckinsale film Canary Black, saying he needed $4.4 million in financing.

“Elliott went so far as to offer up five or six potential roles in Canary Black for Dwyer and told him that he could take his pick,” the suit indicates.

The plaintiffs were able to raise $2.05 million for Canary Black, but once again they did not get the promises for which they had bargained, according to the suit, which alleges the defendants used a “bait and switch” method to obtain the plaintiffs’ assistance with fundraising, only to renege on all the promises that the plaintiffs relied on in return for their assistance with fundraising.

After the last funds raised by the plaintiffs for Canary Black reached the defendants’ bank account, Elliott and Moore “stopped returning Dwyer’s phone calls, going radio silent for several weeks,” the suit alleges.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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