“Sin City” director Robert Rodriguez has been slapped with an $11 million lawsuit claiming that he bullied Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, in order to scuttle a film and associated app game featuring actor Danny Trejo, because the film and game would have taken attention away from his upcoming film, “Machete Kills.”In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Southern Utah, ITN Flix claims that it entered into an agreement with Trejo — who frequently appears in Rodriguez’s films, including “Machete Kills” — for the actor to star in a series of vigilante films.
In order to generate additional publicity and revenue for the films, ITN says it entered into an agreement with gaming company react games to create a game app.
The suit claims that, thanks to an associate producer on the film project who was also a business associate of Wozniak’s, the former Apple honcho agreed participate in the app, leading to the game “Danny Trejo’s Vengeance: Woz With a Coz.”
The suit clams that the game, which was due for a November 2012 release, would have generated about $5 million in sales monthly.
However, according to ITN’s complaint, Rodriguez — fearful that another film starring Trejo would detract from “Machete Kills” — “set in motion a plan to diminish ITN’s reputation and stifle the success of the Film and the App Game.”
That plan, the suit claims, included Rodriguez using “his means, connections and influence to threaten, intimidate and bully Wozniak into pulling support of the game.”
According to the suit, Trejo’s agent, Gloria Hinojosa — also named as a defendant in the suit — worked with Rodriguez to torpedo the film and game, contacting Wozniak and his wife Janet and telling them that the owner of ITN “was a fraud and a con man.”
Wozniak subsequently pulled his support for the game, the suit says, destroying the profit potential for the game.
The suit, which alleges intentional interference with economic relations, defamation and false light, and civil conspiracy, claims that ITN is out “at least $11 million dollars” in revenue that the game could have provided.
ITN is seeking an injunction and restraining order preventing Rodriguez and Hinojosa from making defamatory comments about the company, plus consequential damages “of at least $11 million” and other damages, along with interest, attorneys’ fees and court costs.
TheWrap has been unable to reach Rodriguez’s lawyer in the suit. Hinojosa has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
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