'The seventh Python' looks like he’s on the way to getting his comeuppance after Monty Python man Michael Palin completely rejected the notion that the producer, Mark Forstater, of the famous 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail was ever in agreement with his co-stars to get any share of future profits relating to it.
Reuters reports that a decidedly terse affair (this is real life guys, they’re not going to burst out into a rendition of ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ in court … though they might should they wish to rub it in Forstater’s face if they win), the veteran actor, comic and TV presenter Palin took to the stand and said that no agreement had been in place with Forstater beyond the Python film. The trouble has arisen after Forstater said that he was owed royalties from the profits of the play Spamalot, a spin-off from The Holy Grail that hit Broadway in 2005 and has enjoyed subsequent success on both sides of the Atlantic.
Speaking at the stand - and with two of the other Pythons watching on – Palin commented "It might have been what he was seeking, but it was never going to be accepted by the Pythons. The idea of a seventh Python just doesn't happen ... I don't think there was ever any suggestion this man was going to be a 'seventh Python'." Though admitting he couldn’t remember all the negotiations that took place around the film over 35 years ago – which is fair enough really – he did insist: "He was not the creator of the film. The film had been created by the Python team entirely. Mark was not part of our team." Forstater think he’s owed $400,000 from the play. Good luck with that.
The producer of Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Mark Forstater - is suing the remaining members of Monty Python over royalty rights to the stage show Spamalot. Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin are all due to give evidence at London’s High Court over the next few days. Terry Gilliam and John Cleese will most likely not attend the five-day court case, as they're based overseas. Graham Chapman passed away in 1989.
The popular stage musical Spamalot is described as being “lovingly ripped off” from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail and currently Forstater receives one fourteenth of a share of 50% of merchandising revenues. His lawyer, Tom Weisselberg, is arguing that his client should be considered as the ‘seventh Python’ and should therefore receive one seventh of the income. The Pythons are accused of “failing to pay Mr Forstater monies he says are owed to him under an agreement reached with PMP back in 1974.”
Mr Forstater was declared bankrupt in June, though last month, his bankruptcy was annulled and according to the BBC, “he entered an independent voluntary arrangement (IVA) to deal with his debts.” Spamalot was written by Eric Idle and premiered on Broadway in 2005. The show has won three Tony awards and took $1 million in its opening week on Broadway.