The Los Angeles judge overseeing Mel Gibson's lawsuit against the co-screenwriter of his epic film The Passion Of The Christ has ordered the star to attend court for a disposition.
On Monday (24Nov08) L.A. Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon told Gibson's lawyers that it was likely the Lethal Weapon actor would be made to answer questions at a pre-court testimony to get to the bottom of the money spat with writer Benedict Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is suing Gibson, who directed the controversial religious epic, over accusations he cheated the screenwriter out of millions of dollars in potential earnings. He alleges he was swindled out of millions as the star advised him the movie's budget was between $4 million and $7 million (GBP2.6 million and GBP4.6 million).
He was only paid $75,000 (GBP49,340) and had to borrow $200,000 (GBP131,580) from Gibson to cover expenses. The Passion Of The Christ went on to gross an estimated $600 million (GBP400 million) worldwide.
And on Tuesday (25Nov08) night, the judge demanded that Gibson appear at a disposition before the end of January (09), despite Gibson's lawyers claims that the star is too busy working on his latest film, Edge of Darkness, to appear in court.
Fitzgerald also accuses Gibson of eroding his payments by attaching his kid's school bills to the movie's budget, as well as a $78,000 (GBP52,000) chiropractor bill.