Actor Claims He Has Been Withheld ‘Titanic’ Royalties for 17 Years
As one of the most popular films ever released, 1997’s Titanic still generates plenty of income a year for those who were involved with making the film. However, one of them, a man by the name of Vi Jay, hasn’t seen another penny since his original payment and he feels that he is entitled to more according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
While the film was in production nearly 20 years ago, Jay answered an open casting call and was cast as a background extra at the rate of $60 a day. However, Jay claims that director James Cameron instead used Jay in the role of the “Spindley Porter,” who appears in Kathy Bates‘ first scene roughly 28 and a half minutes into the movie. The scene lasts about fifteen seconds, and the porter character is heard saying “yes” to Bates’ character twice.
Jay isn’t a member of the Screen Actors Guild — in fact, it appears that he isn’t a working professional actor — but he believes the union should have been made aware of his increased role and that he should have been able to join the organization. If he had, he would have been entitled to the royalties amassed by the film.
As a result, Jay is suing the studio, production companies, and distributors (Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, Earthship Productions, Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures) for fair payment.
It’s unknown why Jay has waited so long to file the suit, unless he was unaware of the Screen Actors Guild guidelines. Honestly, unless he has some sort of paperwork or documentation I think he might actually have difficulty proving that it is even him in the film since the character makes such a brief appearance!