Abigail Breslin said Aaron Eckhart allegedly behaved so aggressively on the set of the movie they recently co-starred in, she was scared to be alone with him, according to a new lawsuit obtained by The Times.
The filing stated that Breslin allegedly refused to be alone with Eckhart on the set of their forthcoming action-thriller, “Classified.” Breslin plays an analyst for the U.K.’s MI6 who is also the long-lost daughter of a CIA hitman, played by Eckhart.
Now Dream Team Studios and WM Holdings are suing the “Little Miss Sunshine” star for breach of contract, claiming that what they call “specious” accusations by Breslin cost the project $80,000. The finished film is also facing possible “delivery issues” because, according to the suit, it has “few scenes” in which Breslin and Eckhart appear together.
The suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles, claims that the Oscar-nominated “Definitely, Maybe” actor raised her concerns about the conditions on set earlier this year. According to court documents, she wrote a letter to SAG-AFTRA “setting forth her fears and blasting Mr. Eckhart’s behavior.”
“The entire production almost ground to a halt when Breslin advised the production of Eckhart’s aggressive, demeaning, and unprofessional behavior which she insisted placed her at various times in peril,” the lawsuit said. “In order for the production to continue, among other things, Breslin refused to be alone in several scenes with Eckhart and costly accommodations had to be made by the production to accommodate Breslin’s demands or else Breslin would not continue to perform her contractual obligations.”
The plaintiffs still don’t know if Breslin confronted Eckhart about the alleged abuse before raising concerns with production and contacting her guild, the complaint said.
Representatives for Eckhart and Breslin did not immediately respond to The Times’ requests for comment. However, a rep for Breslin told Rolling Stone that Breslin “is not aware of any action filed against her and has not been served with any legal notice. Ms. Breslin categorically denies all contended allegations and unequivocally stands by her statement which she provided confidentially to SAG.”
According to the suit, the film’s on-set producer, identified as “Mr. Georgiev,” conducted an investigation into Breslin’s claims. He found no evidence of aggressive behavior by Eckhart, the lawsuit said, and the plaintiffs alleged Breslin’s accusations were “wild, hysterical and imaginary.”
The plaintiffs further allege that Breslin has since demanded “additional monies beyond her contract fee” to sign a final agreement. Without Breslin’s signature, the film apparently cannot be distributed and the producers cannot claim tax credits in Malta, where “Classified” was shot in February and March of this year. According to the complaint, Breslin withholding her signature “has completely imperiled the financial wellbeing of the production, including concluding distribution agreements and delivering under the terms of existing distribution agreements.”
Plaintiffs are seeking $80,000 in real damages, plus punitive damages.
In 2016, Eckhart detailed his acting process to BAFTA Guru.“Going into the first day of film, I know that script backwards and forwards, not my part just, everybody’s part, so when I get on set, I can let it all go and be free. It’s no good getting to know me, Aaron, because that’s not going to help the film,” he said.
“If I’m working with a child and I’m playing his father, then from the second I meet him, I am my character,” he continued. “If it’s a woman — a love interest — I do the same thing with that. I mean, obviously not crossing the lines. But if I’m a villain, and this guy has to hate me, I’ll make him hate me. I’ll play little games with them. You know? I just feel like the little moments that the audience is looking for — if you want those moments, and you want real natural energy, it really behooves you to play these sort of psychological games with people.”
“Classified” is directed by L.A.-based director Roel Reiné, who is Dutch and also directed Paramount’s “HALO,” the Starz series “Black Sails” and Netflix’s “Fistful of Vengeance.” The new film weaves an international espionage story line in with a father-daughter relationship story.