In a story from The Hollywood Reporter it looks like Antoine Fuqua and Nicholas Pileggi's crime drama could sleep with the fishes at Morgan Creek.
It seems that Linda Schiro, the ex-girlfriend of deceased Colombo crime family leader Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa, has filed a lawsuit against the company in an effort to stop the release of the planned movie. Schiro is also suing for "punitive damages."
Schiro and her daughter "Little Linda" claim that they spoke with writer Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas) and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. Apparently, these two were told they would receive $150,000 for the life rights to their stories and jobs as consultants on the film.
The story of the movies sees Scarpa carrying out many jobs for the Colombo family's Junior Persico. Scarpa died in prison in 1994. He also may have had dealings with corrupt FBI agent named Lindley DeVecchio.
According to one side representing this project, there was a deal in place between Schiro and Pileggi and Fuqua. The other side says that they have never even seen the lawsuit.
Attorney Perry Wander said that the Schiros gave the filmmakers key information and for that they were told they would get money from the production company.
"Morgan Creek made said promises with the intent to defraud plaintiffs, and for the purpose of inducing plaintiffs to rely upon said promises by providing interviews with the producers, screenwriter and director," according to the suit.
Morgan Creek claims they have received no papers on a potential lawsuit, and they wish to move forward with the property.
"The suit isn't slowing down the process," stated a representative for the company. Fuqua and Pileggi are continuing to develop the project. They plan to put a cast together shortly.
An amended lawsuit is expected to be filed on Thursday in Los Angeles. It alleges "that Nicolas Cage has an $11 million pay-or-play deal with Morgan Creek to star as Scarpa and Ethan Hawke is attached to play an FBI agent." However, Morgan Creek makes it clear that no cast is set up.
Things got even more complicated when author Sandra Harmon's novel Mafia Son was published last May. It seems that "Harmon and publisher St. Martin's Press are alleged to have improperly included information in their book that the Schiros supplied under a deal that expired in 2001."