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"Passion" Writer Claims He Was Stiffed

2/11/2008 7:10 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

The man who wrote the movie "The Passion of the Christ" is suing Mel Gibson, claiming the director short-changed him by saying it would be a small film -- and not the big budget, big bucks flick it turned out to be.
Read the docs
According to papers filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Benedict Fitzgerald claims that Gibson's "personal gift to his faith" was to have a budget in the $4-7 million range -- and there wouldn't be a lot of money in the budget for the writer. He was also told several times by Gibson, he claims, that Gibson didn't plan to make any money from the film.

Instead, according to court documents, the flick cost almost $30 mil and Gibson made a fortune. The film grossed over $600 mil worldwide. Fitzgerald is suing for fraud and asking for damages in excess of $25,000.

Reps for the Mel's production company, Icon Productions, say the suit is "frivolous" and that Fitzgerald was "handsomely compensated."
35 COMMENTS

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16.

Carolyn    

You're all freaks!

2414 days ago
17.

NUMbnuts    

WHERES RONALD REAGAN WHEN WE NEED HIM??

LETS NOT BE CRUEL YOU FOOL!!!

WORD UP!!

HOLLA AT ME!!

2414 days ago
18.

JaneaneTheAcerbicGoblin    

I hated The Passion of the Christ, but the film cost Gibson 25 million dollars to make, which is relatively cheap by Hollywood standards. It was his own money, and honestly, I don't think even Gibson himself knew that the film would be such a huge money maker. I think this is a BS lawsuit.

Someone up thread compared it to when Randy Quaid sued the makers of Brokeback Mountain for more money because no one knew that film would make so much money either.

2414 days ago
19.

David T    

He wrote the Passion? Pretty sure I have read the story somewhere else...Oh yeah the Bible!

2414 days ago
20.

LAME    

No doubt David T - never mind that the movie made over 600M and all's he is asking for is 25K in compensation???!!!
Come on Mel just throw him the bone and let this be. I would!

But let me guess... It's not the money, let's hire lawyers, publicists, and anyone else we need to beat this 25k lawsuit. LOL

2414 days ago
21.

Daddy wants some of the pie too.    

Reading the docs I don't see where TMZ gets that he's suing for only $25,000. Looks more like $720,000 to me??

2414 days ago
22.

jema    

16. He wrote the Passion? Pretty sure I have read the story somewhere else...Oh yeah the Bible!

LOL and POINT

2414 days ago
23.

DR WASABI    

MEL IS GOING TO HELL!!!

2414 days ago
24.

yasman    

Come on people lets remember when Mel made this film the budget was small so he ended up spending alot of his
own money on the film and I remember when it was coming to the threatres people were saying he was grambling
with his own money. The film was successful so now his wrong because he made money. Give the man break

2413 days ago
25.

brice    

mel paid for the remainder of the costs out of his own pocket, and the way everyone made such a stink over it, i'm sure he didn't think it would make so much money. just goes to show, once again, how wrong and out of touch the media are with the rest of the world. fitzgerald is a tool.

2413 days ago
26.

mommab    

Wasn't the Passion written by the Apostles?

2413 days ago
27.

willy    

The writer should know that lawsuits don't get released, movies do.

2413 days ago
28.

JEWISH PRINCESS    

First of all, who makes a movie NOT expecting to make money on it?!

Mel knew what he was doing the whole time.

Pay the man, Mel! You can afford it!

2413 days ago
29.

Joe Marusak    

The important thing to remember, along with the fact that Mel financed the film mostly out of his own pocket, is that nobody in distribution wanted to touch the film. When the anti-defamation league started their stink saying the movie would create all sorts of anti-semitic problems, it looked like this movie was over and done with before the public would ever see frame one. Mel personally went out and did grassroots previews to the public to prove it was not anti-semitic. He also presented the movie to church groups. The movie was successful in spite of enormous odds against it. This movie should not have been able to make anywhere near the money it did. This is a cash grab.

2413 days ago
30.

GGW Fan    

25K? Who cares, just settle out.

2413 days ago
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