Famed director Nick Cassavetes is going after one of his buddies ... suing him for a $72,000 check that bounced all over L.A -- and sources tell us it's a big fat gambling debt.
The director of "The Notebook" is suing L.A. business mogul Kevin Washington for the loot. Kevin gave Nick a handwritten check for $72,600 and allegedly stopped payment.
Nick has famously gambled huge sums of money at private homes around L.A. We broke the story ... Nick was sued in 2011 by the trustee of a convicted hedge fund manager over a $73,000 poker debt. Nick won the loot in a poker game and the trustee said it was dirty money that the hedge fund manager stole from investors.
As for Kevin -- he certainly has enough money for the check to clear. His dad owns Montana Rail Link -- the largest privately owned railroad company in the U.S. Kevin's a partner in an aviation company.
Nick apparently believes Kevin had no intention of paying from the get go, because he's suing for 3 times the value of the check -- as punishment.
Graffiti Artist Alec Monopoly
I Wanna Tag With Bieber
At 'Believe' Premiere
12/18/2013 2:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Justin Bieber -- who famously tagged his way across South America and Australia -- may unleash his spray cans on L.A. ... with one of the most infamous graffiti artists in the world, TMZ has learned.
Alec Monopoly will be front and center tonight at the premiere of Bieber's new flick, "Believe," at L.A. Live. He'll be painting on an 8' X 10' canvas -- the inspiration will be Justin's 5 album covers.
Monopoly will leave a blank space on the canvas for Justin to do his thing, and word is JB is game.
Monopoly's not worried the Biebs will sully his work, saying Bieber has swag in the graffiti world.
Michael Jackson Documentary
12/18/2013 11:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Jackson's mom SAYS she's doing a heartfelt documentary about her son's life ... but the reality is ... it seems to be a shameful money grab.
Katherine Jackson has announced she wants to do the documentary, but needs the fans to send her money to pay for the licensing of Michael's image and music. Translation -- she's insinuating the big bad Michael Jackson Estate is being coldhearted and greedy by charging Michael's family.
Here's the reality ... Howard Weitzman, the lawyer for the Estate, tells TMZ NO ONE from the Jackson family has contacted him or anyone else from the Estate asking for permission to use MJ's image and music. Weitzman wants to make it clear ... "The Estate would never ask Michael's fans to contribute their money to finance any speculative project."
Katherine is using a website to solicit donations and is offering MJ merchandise as bait. FYI, the license for merchandising is held by Bravado, so Katherine can't do that without permission.
If Katherine makes the documentary, the people it will likely hurt are Michael's kids. That's because THEY are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Estate, and if the Estate does an MJ documentary in the future (which is almost certain), it will probably be devalued by anything Katherine does.
And it still gets worse ... Katherine and company have enlisted the help of Blanket, Paris and Prince to solicit funds from fans. It's pretty clear -- they don't understand the implications of helping her out.
So the bottom line -- if the Estate doesn't give permission to use MJ's music and image, the documentary won't get made. So what happens to the money the fans contribute? Well Katherine is using a website to solicit donations that allows her to keep all funds even if the project isn't made. So guess who ends up with the loot?
So we gotta ask ...
My Advisors Didn't Quit ...
We Broke Up
12/18/2013 8:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Charlie Sheen tells TMZ ... the people who guided his career have parted company with him NOT because they were fed up -- it was "mutual."
Charlie's lawyer, Jake Bloom, his publicist, Larry Solters and his manager, Mark Burg all said sayonara to Sheen last week.
Charlie tells TMZ ... there are explanations for all 3 departures.
-- Jake Bloom: Charlie says Jake was there to make movie deals for him, and since he's not doing any movies "his brilliant skill set wasn't required."
-- Larry Solters: Charlie says Larry is a music publicist who he hired at the start of "Anger Management." Charlie says he needed a TV publicist so he made a switch and hired TV veteran Jeff Ballard. Charlie does not explain why he hired Larry in the first place.
-- Mark Burg: Charlie says Mark asked to step down because he just had a kid and wanted to spend more time with his family.
Charlie then kind of backhandedly says, "I couldn't be more pleased with the current state of my team. Much like their fearless leader, they don't believe in excuses, fatigue or failure."
Movie Honchos Claim
Flick is RACIST!
12/17/2013 9:19 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Producers of a movie that spoofed "Twilight" claim the monster hit is fair game to parody ... because it showcased questionable conduct regarding domestic violence, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, date rape, and racism.
Here's the backstory ... Lionsgate -- which produced "Twilight" -- fired off a cease and desist letter to the producers of "Twiharder." Lionsgate claims "Twiharder" is a blatant rip-off and wants it shelved forever.
But now "Twiharder" has fired back, claiming it has a legal right to parody some very controversial themes on the OG. Specifically, "Twiharder" producers claim the movie is racist ... depicting Native Americans as bloodthirsty warriors, noble savages and sexual predators.
Producers also claim "Twilight" promotes statutory rape -- the main relationship is between 17-year-old Bella and Edward, "who is nearly 100 years her senior."
As for domestic violence ... it appears they're talking about rough sex between Edward and Bella.
"Twiharder" producers want a judge to declare they are fully in the right.
12/16/2013 3:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker's family -- and Tyrese -- said their final goodbye to the actor on a Santa Barbara beach.
Paul's dad, his 15-year-old daughter Meadow, Paul's brother and others were there celebrating Paul's life by enjoying a beautiful SoCal day -- playing football on the sand and hanging out.
Tyrese -- who co-starred with Walker in the "Fast & Furious" franchise -- was also present.
A bunch of people wore Viking hats -- not sure of the significance.
Santa Barbara was an appropriate place for the memorial. Paul made Santa Barbara home -- he wasn't really a Hollywood guy.
OR GOOD DOCS?
12/16/2013 12:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Martin Sheen's looks are not "Badlands."
Here's the 35-year-old version of the "Apocalypse Now" actor giving a grimace back in 1975 (left) -- and 38 years later, the 73-year-old "The West Wing" alum shootin' the same smile at a gala in Dubai (right).
The question is ...
BUSTED ... FOR FELONY HIT AND RUN
12/15/2013 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Tami Erin -- the actress who played Pippi Longstocking -- was arrested Saturday afternoon for felony hit and run and drunk driving ... TMZ has learned.
Erin was driving in L.A. when she allegedly hit 3 cars and took off. Law enforcement sources say at least one person was taken to the hospital.
And get this ... Erin didn't hit them all at once -- we're told she hit the first car then drove off ... then hit another car and drove off ... and then she hit the last.
When cops found her they did a field sobriety test and then arrested her for both the felony hit and run and DUI. One source says she was "totally out of control ... just out of it."
Erin refused to submit a blood alcohol test ... and her bail was set at $100K.
As TMZ first reported ... Erin's latest screen credit is a gnarly sex tape.
1:23 PT -- Tami just bailed out of jail.
Lisa McDowell in
"Coming to America"
12/14/2013 12:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Shari Headley is best known for playing the fast food restaurant owner turned royalty Lisa McDowell -- opposite Eddie Murphy -- in the 1988 comedy "Coming to America." Guess what she looks like now!
We Were Moved by 'Blackfish'
We're Quitting SeaWorld Gig Too
12/13/2013 3:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
REO Speedwagon is taking a stand against SeaWorld's alleged abuse of its Orcas -- TMZ has learned the band just pulled out of an upcoming concert there ... following in the footsteps of several other high profile acts.
Sources close to REO Speedwagon tell us their cancellation is directly related to the documentary "Blackfish" ... which exposed alleged killer whale abuse at the aquatic amusement park.
The concert is supposed to go down in February at the Orlando, FL park -- but Cheap Trick, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Barenaked Ladies, and Heart had already backed out.
SeaWorld says it expects "other artists will be targeted" by the campaign to organize a protest. They added they're going to book other bands to fill the open slots.
Still a Pain in the Neck
12/12/2013 11:42 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Mark Wahlberg is still feeling the pain after putting his neck on the line while filming "Transformers: Age of Extinction" back in October -- stepping out in Hollywood Wednesday with a neck brace.
Wahlberg didn't hurt his neck while performing some awesome stunt. The actor claims he woke up one morning while filming in Hong Kong ... and his neck just started hurting ... he doesn't know exactly why.
We're told Wahlberg's docs think the brace will help his recovery.
Keep your head up.
Pulls Out Of SeaWorld Gig
12/12/2013 10:19 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Trisha Yearwood is the latest musical act to bail on a big music event at SeaWorld in Orlando -- and we're told it's all over the alleged shocking mistreatment of the park's killer whales.
Trisha follows the exits of Willie Nelson, Barenaked Ladies and Heart, all of whom pulled out because of revelations about whale abuse exposed in the CNN documentary, "Blackfish."
As for why Trisha bailed from February's event -- Bands, Brew and BBQ -- it's a little confusing. Our Trisha sources say the singer hasn't seen "Blackfish," but she's heard all the fuss and that's enough for her.
And that's enough for us too.
Paul Walker Death
Family Hunts For Burial Plot
12/11/2013 2:56 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker's family is making plans for a proper funeral ... touring the grounds of a famous L.A. cemetery looking for a suitable burial plot.
Walker was killed 11 days ago when a Porsche Carrera GT driven by buddy Roger Rodas slammed into a pole and exploded in flames.
Walker's dad, Paul Sr., and other family members went to Forest Lawn Cemetery today to finalize plans and choose a final resting place.
We're told the Walkers are planning a small funeral -- mostly family -- but it will also include cast and crew from the "Fast & Furious" movies.
No word on when the funeral will be held.