Did you know that country singer Garth Brooks has long had an interest in being a movie star and that in 1994 he started his own production company to launch his acting career? No, you probably didn't, because Brooks has never actually acted in a feature film. He did indeed start a company called Red Strokes, but a lawsuit from his production partner Lisa Sanderson is revealing that Brooks' ego cost him and the company every opportunity they had. And the opportunities in question are positively bizarre.
According to the lawsuit (which you can read in full here), Sanderson introduced Brooks to Frank Darabont, who was doing a rewrite on Saving Private Ryan. Darabont agreed to write the role of a sniper for Brooks to play, but the country singer turned it down because it wasn't the star of the movie. Furthermore, he believed that Saving Private Ryan was doomed because no one wanted to see a war movie starring Tom Hanks. Allegedly Steven Spielberg then asked Brooks who he wanted to play, and his response was, "a bad guy."
The only bad guys in Saving Private Ryan are Nazis, though, so naturally the next project on the table was the Spielberg-produced disaster movie Twister. That wasn't good enough though, because, as the lawsuit says, "Brooks also passed on that film, saying the star of the film was the tornado and Brooks wanted to be the star." And that's not even the strangest thing in the lawsuit:
"After Red Strokes' deal with Disney ended, Red Strokes obtained a development deal with Fox 2000. While at Fox 200, Brooks pitched an idea to a Fox 2000 executive about a rock star who was worth more dead than alive called The Lamb. Fox 2000 loved the idea. During a meeting at Fox, Brooks presented music that he had in mind for The Lamb. Brooks stated that the music was especially important to him because the music expressed many of the same feelings that Brooks felt when his father died, and then began weeping openly. Sanderson was thunderstruck and nearly fell out of her chair during the meeting, since she knew that Brooks' father was alive and well in Oklahoma. After the meeting, Sanderson confronted brooks and told him she was stunned that he would lie about his father dying. Brooks looked Sanderson in the eye, chuckled and said, "but don't you think it made the pitch so much better?" Unfortunately The Lamb project never went forward. Brooks killed the deal because he refused to share his music publishing with Fox, notwithstanding the fact that it had previously been explained to him that if Fox was going to invest $30-40 million dollars in Brooks' movie project, Fox would be entitled to share the revenue from any soundtrack."
Whoa. And it doesn't end there!
The lawsuit goes on to state that Sanderson was putting together a deal for Brooks to produce Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but that deal blew apart after the singer demanded that he get a cowriter credit on the movie. He then went on to write a movie called Alyss, which he sold to New Line for a cool $250,000. After the studio had another screenwriter do rewrites, though, Brooks demanded they reject his draft. Instead they just killed the entire project.
The pair did go on to eventually produce a TV movie, though, called Unanswered Prayers. Their company was paid $350,000 as their producer's fee, but Brooks allegedly refused to split it with Sanderson, which seems to have been the straw that broke her back. And that brings us to today, with Sanderson suing Brooks for her half of the money plus a bonus that he promised her back when they first started the company.
We obviously can't attest to how true any of Sanderson's accusations are, but it's wild to think of a world in which Garth Brooks is the star of Saving Private Ryan and the cowriter of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Thankfully (though not for Sanderson), that's not the world we live in.
[via the AV Club]