New Zealand actors settle out of court with New Line
Good friend, good actor and good man Bruce Hopkins has checked in with some news regarding a financial settlement with New Line. In an exclusive he gives us the lowdown. Here it in his own words:
I trust you are well amidst the heady brew of global financial markets and looming elections!
I wish to inform you that 16 mths after a lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, against New Line Cinema, on behalf of 15 NZ actors who played various featured roles in the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, the action has been settled out of court.
The action related to a contract clause concerning a residual share of net revenues earned from merchandise bearing the likeness of each actors character in the films. As you will be aware these films and their associated merchandise achieved record levels of earnings both at the box office and in merchandising.
I personally began this action over 4 years ago and was advised by an LA entertainment lawyer I had met, Phillip Rosen, to enlist as many NZ actors as I could to take part in the initial approach to New Line.
However after a lack of satisfactory response and then being informed that all of the characters merchandising had achieved significant financial losses to the company, Phillip Rosen enlisted the aid of one of LA’s most respected litigators, attorney Henry Gradstein. At this point the decision was taken to file suit in the Superior Court of LA. The suit was lodged mid 2007 and approximately 2 months ago on advice from Phillip Rosen, and in consultation with our agents, we agreed on a mutually acceptable settlement out of court.
As part of the settlement, details cannot be discussed. I will however put my neck on the line and say that the final settlement amounts are more in keeping with what was in the petty cash drawer at head office when the decision to settle was made!
A couple of actors may be able to have a decent holiday this year, while most will simply be able to buy some new board shorts, a couple of bottles of nice wine and maybe get a haircut in anticipation of their next role in a record breaking global blockbuster!
The fact that a couple of other actors chose to not be involved, fearing it could damage their names in the Hollywood scene is testament to the reality that coming on board to take this action took courage. The actors involved in the case were; Noel Appleby, Jed Brophy, Mark Ferguson, Ray Henwood, Bruce Hopkins, William Johnson, Nathaniel Lees, Sarah McLeod, Ian Mune, Paul Norell, Craig Parker, Robert Pollock, Martyn Sanderson, Peter Tait and Stephan Ure.
It should be noted that he settlement has come a little late for the wonderful Noel Appleby, who played the role of hobbit, Everard Proudfoot in the first film of the trilogy. Toward the end of 2007, Noel passed on after weathering a battle with cancer.
cheers,.. ahhh the joys of spring