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Julie Taymor Putting Spider-Man Musical Producers in Legal Web

Julie Taymor is doing whatever a director can: staking her  rightful artistic claims.

The helmer of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the critically maligned if profitable budget-busting Broadway  musical that made headlines last year for a series of high-profile accidents, is  suing the producers who booted her off the show.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the complaint filed in  federal court in New York City claims that despite receiving an “original direction by”  credit, Spider-Man‘s producers violated her rights by continuing to use  her work in the $70 million spectacle without compensating her.

“As the lawsuit filed today makes clear, the defendants have violated Ms.  Taymor’s creative rights as an author of Spider-Man: Turn Off the  Dark,” Taymor’s attorney, Charles Spada, said in a statement. “Moreover,  the producers have failed to compensate Ms. Taymor for their continued use of  her work to date.”

As every Broadway afficionado knows, Taymor was pushed aside by producers and  her longtime collaborators—Spider-Man composers Bono and The Edge from U2—after it became clear in the spring that the problem-plagued production wasn’t working as originally  envisioned.

She was replaced by Phillip William McKinley (The Boy  From Oz) who reworked the book to focus more on the Peter Parker-Mary  Jane love story, resurrected the Green Goblin as the principal villain and added  more high-wire derring-do among other pertinent changes.

But despite the tweaks, the tuner retained most of Taymor’s signature    visual style, puppetry and other creative contributions, complicating   her exit  and prompting the Stage Director and Choreographers’ Society to   file an  arbitration claim on her behalf seeking unpaid directing   royalties.

“Since Ms. Taymor’s departure in March, we have repeatedly tried to resolve  these issues,” Turn Off the Dark producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J.  Harris said in a statement to E! News. “The production has indeed compensated  Ms. Taymor for her contribution as a co-book writer. Fortunately the court  system will provide, once and for all, an opportunity to resolve this dispute.  We look forward to a resolution in which everyone is properly compensated for  their contribution to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

By the time Spider-Man finally premiered in June (after the  longest  preview period in Broadway history, natch), Taymor appeared to  temporarily put  the bad feelings aside to grace the red carpet with the  rest of the cast and  crew.

But the arbitration suit still remained in which she claimed backers owe her  more than $500,000 in royalties. A hearing on the matter took place earlier this  month but a decision has not yet been made public.

Either way, if today’s legal action is any indication, it doesn’t sound like  Taymor’s too happy with what she’s received monetarily so far.

Despite the internal squabbling, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is  holding its own at the box office—grossing $1.4 million last week—some of the strongest along  the Great White Way just behind The Lion King and Wicked.

And if there’s a silver lining to Taymor’s somewhat sullied reputation, she  was declared eligible for a Tony nomination in the musical director  category—that is, if the Broadway community agrees that she deserves one.






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