China's Bliss Media says the fraud lawsuit over its upcoming Orlando Bloom film Smart Chase: Fire & Earth is a frivolous attempt at forcing a settlement in the press.
Das Films sued Bliss in October for fraud and breach of contract, claiming Bliss "wanted only to learn from Das Films' experience and not pay for the work." Das claims it was hired to produce the project but was cut out of key creative decisions and ultimately terminated for fabricated reasons.
Patricia Glaser, attorney for Bliss, has filed a motion to compel arbitration, arguing that the 2015 producer memo in question contains a clause that requires an arbitrator to resolve any disputes.
"In blatant defiance of this requirement, Das wrongfully filed a Superior Court Complaint so that Das could publicize its demonstrablyaccusations in the press and use the publicity to coerce Bliss and extort an undeserved settlement," writes Glaser. "Bliss did not acquiesce to Das' extortion and, instead, demanded that Das proceed with the contractually mandated arbitration."
Much of the dispute centers on production scheduling.
Das claims Bliss dropped a July 2016 start date for principal photography on them with little notice, setting them up to fail. But Bliss says Das had agreed to a May or June start date months earlier and failed to ensure the director they had hired for the project was available and the script would be done in time.
Das Films attorney Bryan Freedman sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement Thursday afternoon: "I understand that Bliss is afraid to lose this case in a public forum as it would be embarrassing for the truth about its business practices (or lack thereof) to become known to the entire industry. Whether this case gets adjudicated in court, in arbitration, in a church or in the streets, there is no chance that Bliss will not be found liable for its blatant breach of the agreement."
A hearing is set for Nov. 30.