Sure, it’s easier to get acting roles if you have a lot of money: just tell a cash-strapped producers “I’ll give you X amount of money if you cast me in your movie.” Hey, it worked if you wanted to get in one of Ed Wood‘s movies, right? But what happens if after loaning the producers that hefty sum the person with the deep pockets finds out his or her role is mostly on the cutting room floor?
That’s the issue that professional poker player Dan Bilzerian is suing producers Randall Emmett and George Furla over in Los Angeles Superior Court. Blizerian agreed to loan the producers $1 million to help them complete their Navy SEAL drama Lone Survivor, and in return he would receive a role in the film, which was directed by Peter Berg and is set for release in January and stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster.
However, according to Bilzerian’s lawsuit his appearance in the final film is far less than the agreed upon 8 minutes and at least 80 words of dialogue. In fact, Bilzerian claims that he appears for less than one minute in the final cut and has only one line of dialogue.
The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t indicate if that 8 minutes/80 words clause was ever put in writing, only that a document between the parties written on October 10, 2012 states that the Berg took Blizerian’s thoughts on the role “into consideration” and he “”meaningfully” consulted him (Berg also wrote the screenplay). The role was written especially for Bilzerian, and is his first acting role (though his IMDb page credits him for stunts in Olympus Has Fallen — no word if he paid for that either). The case will likely hinge on that documentation.
So make sure to keep that in mind next time you spend $1 million to be in the movie: get the specifics of your bit part in writing! After all, you’re paying a lot of money for it!