Remember the movie The Human Contract?
Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, are among the few who do. She wrote it and directed it.
So does Philly developer David Grasso. He put up $5 million in 2007 to fund the drama, starring Jason Clarke and Paz Vega.
Grasso and the Smiths had been communicating through lawyers over the outcome of the flop, which went straight to video.
After Grasso's counsel threatened the Smiths with a lawsuit, the Smiths struck first.
The Smiths, her management company, Overbrook Entertainment, and her production company, 100% Womon, sued Grasso and Tycoon, his production company, in Los Angeles Superior Court.
In their complaint, the Smiths claim that Grasso accused them of "fraudulently inducing [Tycoon] to invest in the movie," and asks the court to declare that such fraud did not occur.
Grasso learned of the Smiths' legal move through TMZ.com, which seems to have obtained the complaint moments after its filing.
Contacted yesterday, Grasso called the suit an intimidation tactic. "I wasn't looking to make it public," he said. "They put out this lawsuit."
He acknowledged that he knew of the risk of investing in a movie. "However, never in a million years did I believe I'd be treated so poorly," he said, adding that he had recouped about $1 million of his investment through a foreign distribution deal.
"My differences . . . have nothing to do with the success or failure of The Human Contract, but with the promises that were made to induce me to make the investment," he said. "I am disappointed that my perception of the Smiths was so off-base. . . . I sincerely look forward to the truth being revealed and remain optimistic that we will be able to resolve our differences amicably."
Credit the Smiths with one thing: Using someone else's money to finance her movie.
See photos from the set in 2007 (L.A. Times)