ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Monday, December 27, 2010

Production Company Behind "Black Swan" Sues Former Chief

As reported in the New York Daily News here, Overnight LLC, the production company behind "Black Swan," the latest film about psychotic ballet dancers, is suing Aaron Kaufman, its former chief executive.  Overnight alleges that Kaufman bailed out on the film, stole a top director and left Overnight "saddled with debt."  At the heart of the suit, apparently, is a conflict between Kaufman and Overnight's current head, Rick Schwartz, who, while listed as an executive producer of the film, will not be eligible for an Academy Award.  Overnight is seeking $10 million in a breach of contract claim, alleging lost revenues, lost opportunities, and reputational harms, inter alia.  The Daily News says the allegations of the law suit are as complex as the plot of the film, so I'm assuming they go something like this:

*Warning: Spoiler Alert* Do not read on if you think your enjoyment of this kind of movie turns on not knowing the plot in advance:

Kaufman was the perfect fit for making a light-hearted comedy about a New York City Ballet production of "Swan Lake," and Schwartz was the perfect fit for a dark psychological thriller about a New York City Ballet production of "Swan Lake."  As the two competed for top producer status, Kaufman got in touch with his dark side.  Kaufman then engages in a series of bizarre activities, ranging from self-mutilation to drug use, to rough sex and homosexuality.  In the end, Kaufman suffers from a hallucination in which he stabs Schwartz, but in fact he has actually stabbed himself.  While all this is going on, he manages to make the best dance film since "The Red Shoes."  Or was it all a dream?

Okay, just run the trailer:



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