50 Cent is back in the spotlight as news broke today that casting director Nancy Nayor Battino and Crispy Twig productions are suing the Queens-born emcee for $200,000. They claim that they had an oral agreement with the rapper/actor/entrepreneur to hire their services for his upcoming self-financed film Things Fall Apart.
According to court documents, Fiddy had agreed to pay $5,000 a week to Crispy Twig Productions over the span of 19 weeks for Battino's services, in addition to payments to the local teamster union for Battino's union benefits, health care and pension costs. Yet after one initial payment - which incidentally bounced when it was first cashed - the plaintiffs claim that the rapper had stopped issuing payments, racking up nearly $90,000 in remiss payments. They are also seeking damages for missed employment opportunities as a result of the time spent on the film.
In addition, Crispy Twig maintains that the rapper had incorrectly assured them that the film was set to feature stars James Caan and Diana Rodriguez and would be helmed by a "...capable director." The company has since learned that neither actor will be featured in the film, and that the movie will now be directed by New Jack City director Mario Van Peebles.
Things Fall Apart first gained notoriety after images of an emaciated 50 Cent leaked earlier this year. Fiddy, who also wrote the script for the film with Brian Miller, cut 60 pounds to play the film's cancer-stricken hero, whom he says he based on a friend who battled the disease himself.
"It's myself, Mario Van Peebles, Ray Liotta, Lynn Whitfield, and it's a project that I wrote, produced and financed myself," he told MTV in May. "It's about a Heisman hopeful who could possibly be going to the league and everyone is assuming he's gonna make it, and then he's hit with an illness. I had a friend of mine who actually experienced cancer, and it's what motivated me to write this screenplay. You don't have to make everything personal, but that project was." (MTV.com)
DX will keep updated as the suit further unfolds.