You may recall a big announcement last spring about a remake of a Korean film, now called “10a/10b” starring Oscar nominee Marisa Tomei and the very choosy (about picking roles) Liv Tyler. The indie world roared with approval.
Well, guess what? “10A/10B” has been aborted, and the result is a pair of lawsuits and a lot of angry people. In fact, not only was the plug pulled on the film, but last May, when the decision was made by the film’s financiers to kill it, they substituted in a hastily written new script that was tailored for the existing sets.
The new film, called “Columbus Circle,” was cooked up by producer Christopher Mallick on the plane coming home from the Cannes Film Festival, where he tried unsuccessfully to sell George Gallo’s “Middle Men.” On the plane, he says, actor Kevin Pollak pitched him the idea, and Gallo agreed to direct it.
Unfortunately, “10A/10B” screenwriter Floyd Byars doesn’t appreciate this bit of trivia. Last week he filed a counter complaint against Mallick and his Oxymoron Entertainment after the latter sued him and his group. At issue: whether Korean director Chul-Soo Park–who directed the 1995 original “301/302″–lied to Mallick about whether a Korean producer really owned the rights to his film. Mallick says he did know, and wants $3 million in damages.
On the other hand, Byars says the matter of rights was an issue that was quickly resolved, and that Mallick bailed on the project at the last minute, leaving everyone high and dry. Mallick, it is agreed, killed the film on the first day that his fairly well known stars, Tomei and Tyler, had started pre-production.
The lawsuits pit Byars–a well-known screenwriter with a long list of credits–versus Mallick, who made his money developing a credit-card billing system for adult movies and pornography. Mallick produced “Middle Men” and recently completed a documentary about what happens to retired porn stars. But Mallick, it should be pointed out, never actually work in the porn world. He just made it easier for people to get it.
Meantime, the American remake of “301/302″ remains in limbo. But its sets will live on in “Columbus Circle,” a film with the same director and some cast as the still unsold, unreleased “Middle Men.” (Wouldn’t it have been easier to work out the problems on “10A/10B”?) It’s sort of like a movie organ donation. Let’s hope the transplant takes.