Los Angeles, Oct. 9 (Reuters): A Los Angeles judge refused to halt this week’s release of the film Swept Away, starring Madonna and directed by her husband, Guy Ritchie, despite last-minute claims by another actor that the project was his idea.
But an attorney for Vincent D’Onofrio, who starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in The Cell, said the actor would press forward with his lawsuit against Madonna, Ritchie and Sony Pictures Entertainment over the film.
Although Swept Away is a remake of a 1974 Italian movie of the same name, D’Onofrio claims in his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that it was his idea to produce it again with Madonna in the leading role.
Representatives for Sony Pictures and Madonna could not be reached for comment. “They used his idea and they didn’t want to compensate him,” D’Onofrio’s lawyer, Morris Getzels, said.
Getzels said D’Onofrio asked Judge David Yaffe to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the Friday release of Swept Away unless Madonna, Ritchie and Sony gave him a producer credit. But Yaffe refused. “Almost every newspaper article about Swept Away starts with the question of where did the idea come from to remake this film,” Getzels said. “And the idea came from my client.” He said D’Onofrio was not the first person to sue seeking credit for a remake, citing what he said was a similar case brought against Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Getzels said D’Onofrio first approached Lina Wertmuller — who wrote and directed the original — about making the romantic comedy again with Madonna as the star, and Wertmuller “got all excited about it”.
Madonna, through her representatives, also was “very enthusiastic” about the film, the attorney said. But in the spring of 2001, Getzels said, D’Onofrio learned that Madonna was making the movie without him.
“He hired lawyers and has been trying to persuade Madonna to settle, but they won’t do anything for him,” he said.
Madonna stars in Swept Away as a wealthy US woman who becomes stranded on a Greek island with an Italian fisherman, played by Adriano Giannini, and falls in love. Ritchie is credited as the film’s screenwriter and director.