Producer Vincent D’Onofrio, who is no relation to the actor of the same name who stars in ”Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” is embroiled in a real-life legal drama. Reuters reports that he’s filed suit against Madonna, Guy Ritchie, and Sony Pictures over ”Swept Away,” claiming they stole his idea to remake the 1974 Italian movie as a vehicle for the Material Mom.
D’Onofrio’s lawyer, Morris Getzels, said at a Los Angeles hearing on Tuesday that the producer first approached Lina Wertmuller ”got all excited about it.” Getzels said Madonna’s representatives told the actor she was also ”very enthusiastic” about the idea. But in early 2001, he learned that she was remaking the film on her own, with husband Guy Ritchie (”Snatch”) writing and directing and Adriano Giannini costarring. (He’s the son of Giancarlo Giannini, who played the same role in the original.) Getzels said of D’Onofrio, ”He hired lawyers and has been trying to persuade Madonna to settle, but [the defendants] won’t do anything for him.” (Madonna, Ritchie, and Sony have not commented on the suit.)
On Tuesday, Los Angeles judge David Yaffe barred D’Onofrio’s request for an injunction to stop the release of the movie, which opens Friday, unless it gives D’Onofrio a producer credit. However, Yaffe will allow D’Onofrio’s lawsuit to proceed. ”We’re still going to seek a credit and seek damages,” Getzels told the New York Post. If audiences react to this movie the way they usually do when Madonna makes a film, maybe D’Onofrio should be thankful his name’s not on it.