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''Sprockets'' film cut short

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Now is the time in Sprockets when we run for the hills — with big, bad studio lawyers chasing us. In an unprecedented move for a major studio, Universal is suing Mike Myers for backing out of his plans to bring his turtleneck-wearing Saturday Night Live character Dieter to the big screen. According to the juicy lawsuit, filed June 5, the studio alleges Myers demanded a huge post-Austin Powers salary hike from $10 to $20 million, and more of the back end. The suit also says that Myers suddenly called a May 30 meeting to inform the studio he was ”abandoning the project in midstream,” claiming ”the script — which he himself cowrote and over which he had complete and unfettered control — is no longer acceptable to him…” Universal responded with a blitzkrieg, seeking actual and consequential damages — it’s already spent $3.8 million on preproduction during which Jack Black and David Hasselhoff were hired as costars. The suit also demands Myers not work on other projects for several months. The actor plans to countersue, saying in a statement, ”The question has always been can Sprockets move beyond a sketch into a full-length feature. Despite my greatest efforts, I have yet to achieve that. I cannot in good conscience accept $20 million and cheat moviegoers…with an unacceptable script.”

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